A very important connection!

Not only does Marsilius make, for the first time, a political application of the premise of the non-futility of natural desire, but in this application it receives a scope and a detail which it had not previously attained. Where all his predecessors had said that the object of man's natural desires is something as general as "knowledge" or "the good," Marsilius, as we have seen, holds that this object is, successively, the sufficient life, the state, whatever is necessary for the state's preservation, and finally good laws. Moreover, in support of this necessary sequence of natural desires, Marsilius' argument reintroduces the Aristotelian concept of "deformity," which carries on the specifically biological context of his political philosophy, whereas his predecessors had appealed only to such general dicta as "God and nature do nothing in vain" . . . And finally, Marsilius, like John of Jandun, interprets this non-futility of natural desire to mean that the object of this desire is actually attained, not merely that its attainment is possible. For John this had meant that all or most men taken collectively, or as a species, actually have all the sciences. For Marsilius, however, it means that the universitas civium of its weightier part, which is the legislator of the state, is all but infallible both in will and in execution; "election is always made for the common benefit, which the human legislator almost always aims at and achieves." Both John and Marsilius thus exhibit a kind of optimism about the collectivity of man, in the realms of the theoretic and the practical, respectively, which is as utopian as it is extreme. Yet in the political sphere it is this same doctrine, expressed as faith in the natural goodness of man, which animated many of the republican and democratic movements in modern times. In any case, the upshot of Marsilius' naturalist-corporate interpretation of desire is that nature operates as an efficient cause within the wills of all or most men taken together, driving them from one desire to the next until the state and all its laws are established, thereby satisfying the original desire. Nature hence gives a sanction to corporate majoritarianism which is completely denied to all other kinds of state.

Alan Gewirth, "Natural Desire, the Unity of the Intellect, and Political Averroism," Appendix II in his 1956 edition of Defensor Pacis, pp. 437-438.

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