The purpose of this paper is to consider the function of the St. Thomas Aquinas’ authority in the Valladolid Debate. Both of its participants refer to his writings, although in strategically diff erent ways. Within this tradition, Las Casas can express his own ideas, by introducing a new concept – the relativity of the law – into his apparently exact reconstruction of Aquinas’ thought. It is particularly possible by means of putting the auctoritates in their historical context and showing the novelty of the actual context, the reality of the West Indies. Then Las Casas can use the thomistic idea of an internal act, in which he distinguishes the general synderesis from the judgment of consciousness and presents the latter as the result of the filling the general concept with concrete, culturally relative data.
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