The Role of Reason in the Ethics of Maimonides: or, Why Maimonides Could Have Had a Doctrine of Natural Law Even if He Did Not
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Religious Ethics 14 (2):279 - 295 (1986)
After presenting a paradigm of natural law taken from Cicero and Aquinas, I discuss aspects of Maimonides' ethical theory that appear to conflict with doctrines of natural law. My conclusion will be that Maimonides' adaptation of the Aristotelian metaphysic and doctrine of the "Golden Mean" produced a teleological ethic that is reconcilable with his view that certain moral and legal injunctions are revealed. A doctrine of natural law is compatible with the ethical doctrines that Maimonides held. The thesis I pursue is antithetical to Marvin Fox's (1972:V) contention that "in Judaism there is no natural law doctrine, and in principle there cannot be.".
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