As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of (...) just why we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that ‘it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive’. (shrink)
Language suggestive of natural law ethics, similar to the Catholic understanding of ethical foundations, is prevalent in a number of disciplines. But it does not always issue in a full-blooded commitment to objective ethics, being undermined by relativist ethical currents. In law and politics, there is a robust conception of "human rights", but it has become somewhat detached from both the worth of persons in themselves and from duties. In education, talk of "values" imports ethical considerations but (...) hints at a subjectivist view of them. In the psychology and sociology of drug use, ethically thin concepts of "harm minimisation" and "selfimage" dominate discussion and distract attention from the virtue of temperance and the training of character. A more forceful assertion of an ethics based on the worth of persons in these cases would be most desirable. Arguments against objectivity in the fundamentals may be replied to by examining the parallel between ethics and the discipline whose objectivity has been least challenged by relativist arguments, mathematics. (shrink)
The article deals with the relationship between theological ethics and moral philosophy. The former is seen as a theoretical reflection on Christian ethics, the latter as one on secular ethics. The main questions asked are: (1) Is there one and only one pre-theoretical knowledge about acting rightly? (2) Does philosophy provide us with the theoretical framework for understanding both Christian and secular ethics? Both questions are answered in the negative. In the course of argument, four positions (...) are presented: theological unificationism, philosophical unificationism, theological separationism and Lutheran dualism. It is argued that the latter position is most convincing. It is dual in the sense of being both a theory of Christian ethics and of including a recognition of natural law. Hence, it unites a particularistic and a universalistic point of view. In the last section a reformulation of the Lutheran position is attempted in making use of the ethical theory of Knud E. Løgstrup''s The Ethical Demand. (shrink)
In recent decades, the revival of natural law theory in modern moral philosophy has been an exciting and important development. Human Values brings together an international group of moral philosophers who in various respects share the aims and ideals of natural law ethics. In their diverse ways, these authors make distinctive and original contributions to the continuing project of developing natural law ethics as a comprehensive treatment of modern ethical theory and practice.
Karl Barth and the displacement of natural law in contemporary Protestant theology -- Development of the natural-law tradition through the high Middle Ages -- John Calvin and the natural knowledge of God the Creator -- Peter Martyr Vermigli and the natural knowledge of God the Creator -- Natural law in the thought of Johannes Althusius -- Francis Turretin and the natural knowledge of God the Creator.
Accounts of natural law moral philosophy and theology sought principles and precepts for morality, law, and other forms of social authority, whose prescriptive force was not dependent for validity on human decision, social influence, past tradition, or cultural convention, but through natural reason itself. This volume critically explores and assesses our contemporary culture wars in terms of: the possibility of natural law moral philosophy and theology to provide a unique, content-full, canonical morality; the character and nature of (...) moral pluralism; the limits of justifiable national and international policy seeking to produce and preserve human happiness, social justice, and the common good; the ways in which morality, moral epistemology, and social political reform must be set within the broader context of an appropriately philosophically and theologically anchored anthropology. This work will be of interest to philosophers, theologians, bioethicists, ethicists and political scientists. (shrink)
The ethics of Wolfhart Pannenberg has a nomological dimension at its center. Based on the history of the natural law tradition, Pannenberg maintains the possibility of the natural law theory on the following five grounds. -/- The theological ground is his understanding of the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Pauline interpretation of the law. For its historical ground, Pannenberg articulates the natural law theories of Patristic theology and the theologies of Troeltsch and Brunner. (...) The ontological ground is the order of the world, which God established in the process of history. The anthropological ground is the mutuality of human society. The latter two dimensions are related to the epistemological ground, which is based on the hermeneutics of universal history. -/- Pannenberg attempts to combine the law, the gospel, and love in relation to the Kingdom of God. Thus, Pannenberg’s Kingdom ethics is nomological as well as eschatological. (shrink)
With the passing of disputations between Jewish and Christian thinkers as to whose tradition has a more universal ethics, the task of Jewish and Christian ethicists is to constitute a universal horizon for their respective bodies of ethics, both of which are essentially particularistic being rooted in special revelation. This parallel project must avoid relativism that is essentially anti-ethical, and triumphalism that proposes an imperialist ethos. A retrieval of the idea of natural law in each respective tradition (...) enables the constitution of some intelligent common ground for ethical cooperation in both theory and practice between the traditions. This essay also suggests how the constitution of this common ground could include Muslims as well. The constitution of this common ground enables religious ethicists to present more cogent ethical arguments in secular space, but only of course, when those who now control secular space are open to arguments from members of any religious tradition. (shrink)
Introduction -- Contending for moral first things : Christian social ethics and postconsensus culture -- Natural law and the Christian tradition -- Natural law and the Protestant prejudice -- Moral law, Christian belief, and social ethics -- Contending for moral first things in ethical and bioethical debates : critical categories, part 1 -- Contending for moral first things in ethical and bioethical debates : critical categories, part 2 -- Ethics, bioethics, and the (...) class='Hi'>natural law, a test case : euthanasia yesterday and today -- The natural law and public morality : second thoughts on what is at stake. (shrink)
This work brings together leading defenders of Natural Law and Liberalism for a series of frank and lively exchanges touching upon critical issues of contemporary moral and political theory. The book is an outstanding example of the fruitful engagement of traditions of thought about fundamental matters of ethics and justice.
This book breaks new ground in the study of Judaism, in philosophy, and in comparative ethics. It demonstrates that the assumption that Judaism has no natural law theory to speak of, held by the vast majority of scholars, is simply wrong. The book shows how natural law theory, using a variety of different terms for itself throughout the ages, has been a constant element in Jewish thought. The book sorts out the varieties of Jewish natural law (...) theory, illuminating their strengths and weaknesses. It also presents a case for utilising natural law theory in order to deal with current theological and philosophical questions in Judaism's ongoing reflection on its own meaning and its meaning for the wider world. David Novak combines great erudition in the Jewish tradition, the history of philosophy and law, and the imagination to argue for Judaism in the context of current debates, both theoretical and practical. (shrink)
The contemporary Thai Theravada Buddhist monks Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Phra Prayyudh Payutto espouse a version of natural law thinking in which the norms of good behavior derive from the nature of the world, specifically its features of conditionality, causality, karma and interdependence. An ethic which stresses non-egoic harmony is the result. This paper (1) develops the notion of natural law in their thinking and (2) critically evaluates these ideas as a foundation for ethical thought, specifically asking whether such (...) ideas recognize something of value in the individual per se and in individual freedom and, in an interdependent world, how one can challenge injustice or a brutal government. (shrink)
I locate possible fertile common ground among the “new natural law theory” of Finnis, Grisez, and Boyle, the “traditional” Thomism of McInerny, and natural law derivationism. I respond to Murphy’s contention that the “inclinationism” of Finnis cannot be successfully asserted along with what Murphy takes to be a basic requirement of natural law ethics, namely that basic practical principles are to be “strongly grounded” in human nature. I argue that the tension between the inclinationism of Finnis (...) and Murphy’s basic requirement is not irresolvable. In response to objections by Murphy to natural law derivationism, I argue, basedin part on Searle’s attempt to derive an “ought” from an “is,” that the new natural law theorists and McInerny can and should investigate natural law derivationismfor possible adoption. (shrink)
We describe the Catholic natural law tradition by examining its origins in the medieval penitentials, the papal decretals, the writings of Thomas Aquinas, and seventeenth century casuistry. Catholic natural law emerges as a flexible ethic that conceives of human nature as rational and as oriented to certain basic goods that ought to be pursued and whose pursuit is made possible by the virtues. We then identify four approaches to natural law that have evolved within the United States (...) during the twentieth century, including the traditionalist, proportionalist, right reason, and historicist approaches. The normative implications of these approaches are discussed in relation to ethical issues in the tobacco industry, ITT under Geneen, the marketing of pharmaceuticals, affirmative action, and bribery. It is argued that Alasdair MacIntyre is correct in claiming that the natural law tradition is superior to the liberal ethics of modern deontology and utilitarianism. (shrink)
Chapter one argues for the important contribution that a natural law based framework can make towards an analysis and assessment of key controversies surrounding the practices of suicide, assisted suicide, and voluntary euthanasia. The second chapter considers a number of historical contributions to the debate. The third chapter takes up the modern context of ideas that have increasingly come to the fore in shaping the 'push' for reform. Particular areas focused upon include the value of human life, the value (...) of personal autonomy, and the rejection of double effect reasoning. Chapter four engages in the task of pointing out structural weakness in utilitarianism and deontology. The thesis argues that major systemic weaknesses in both approaches can be overcome by a teleology of basic human goods. John Finnis' work becomes the underpinning of subsequent applied natural law analysis. Chapter five proceeds to argue for the defence of the intrinsic good of human life from direct attack. The thesis holds out for the proposition "that it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill a human person, whether self or another, regardless of a further appeal to consequences or motive." In support of this, it defends the validity of double effect reasoning as an indispensable part of applied moral decision making. Chapter six critically assesses the arguments of anti-perfectionists that it is not the business of the state to enforce deep or substantive conceptions of the 'good life.' The chapter moves on to argue that the natural law conception of the person in society, centred on the common good, provides a solid framework for assessing both the justification for, as well as the limits on, the role of the state to use its power to legally impose certain moral standards. Chapter seven addresses the concrete relationship between natural law and legal policy by exploring the issue of assisted suicide in the constitutional context of the United States.
Catholic natural law has had a long and evolving interest in bioethics. Thomas Aquinas left natural law a legacy of great flexibility in evaluating goods within a whole life. He also bequeathed to the Church the basis for an abolutism on sexual issues. Modern reproductive medicine and a deeper understanding of human freedom have reopened these issues. The Vatican has developed new, holistic arguments to proscribe reproductive interventions, but critics remain unconvinced that marital relationships and goods have been (...) adequately evaluated. The resolution of this debate will require further experience and reflection. Keywords: Thomas Aquinas, freedom, natural law, reproductive ethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This article describes Catholic natural law tradition by examining its origins in the medieval penitentials, the papal decretals, the writings of Thomas Aquinas, and seventeenth-century casuistry. Catholic natural law emerges as a flexible ethic that conceives of human nature as rational and as oriented to certain basic goods that ought to be pursued and whose pursuit is made possible by the virtues. Four approaches to natural law that have evolved within the United States during the twentieth century (...) are then identified, including the traditionalist, proportionalist, right reason, and historicist approaches. The normative implications of these approaches are discussed in relation to ethical issues in the tobacco industry, ITT under Geneen, the marketing of pharmaceuticals, affirmative action, and bribery. It is argued that Alasdair MacIntyre is correct in claiming that the natural law tradition issuperior to the liberal ethics of modern deontology and utilitarianism. (shrink)
In this book, Buckle provides a historical perspective on the political philosophies of Locke and Hume, arguing that there are continuities in the development of seventeenth and eighteenth-century political theory which have often gone unrecognized. He begins with a detailed exposition of Grotius's and Pufendorf's modern natural law theory, focussing on their accounts of the nature of natural law, human sociability, the development of forms of property, and the question of slavery. He then shows that Locke's political theory (...) takes up and develops these basic themes of natural law. The author argues further that, rather than being a departure from this tradition, the moral sense theory of Hutcheson and Hume represents a not entirely successful attempt to underpin the natural law theory with an adequate moral psychology. (shrink)
These essays address some of the most intriguing questions raised by natural law theory and its implications for law, morality, and public policy. some of the essays explore the implications that natural law theory has for jurisprudence, asking what natural law suggests about the use of legal devices such as constitutions and precedents. Other essays examine the connections between natural law and various political concepts, such as citizens' rights and the obligation of citizens to obey their (...) government. (shrink)
This paper applies a very traditional position within Natural Law Theory to Cyberspace. I shall first justify a Natural Law approach to Cyberspace by exploring the difficulties raised by the Internet to traditional principles of jurisprudence and the difficulties this presents for a Positive Law Theory account of legislation of Cyberspace. This will focus on issues relating to geography. I shall then explicate the paradigm of Natural Law accounts, the Treatise on Law, by Thomas Aquinas. From this (...) account will emerge the structure of law and the metaphysics of justice. I shall explore those aspects of Cyberspace which cause geography to be problematic for Positive Law Theory and show how these are essential, unavoidable and beneficial. I will then apply Aquinas’s structure of law and metaphysics of justice to these characteristics. From this will emerge an alternative approach to cyberlaw which has no problem with the nature of Cyberspace as it is but treats it as a positive foundation for new legal developments. (shrink)
Natural law as fact, theory, and sign of contradiction -- The second tablet project -- The mystery of what? -- The natural, the connatural, and the unnatural -- Accept no imitations: natural law vs. naturalism -- Thou shalt not kill . . . whom? the meaning of the person -- Capital punishment: the case for justice -- Constitution vs. constitutionalism -- Constitutional metaphysics -- The liberal, illiberal religion.
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.". (shrink)
To assess the utility of appeals to natural law as a way of projecting ethical claims across ideological and cultural boundaries, three examples of such appeals in just war theory are critically analyzed and evaluated: those of contemporary international lawyers Myres McDougal and Florentino Feliciano, theological ethicist Paul Ramsey, and Franciscus de Victoria, a sixteenth-century Spanish theorist whose recasting of Christian just war thought gave rise to secular international law. The conclusion is that natural-law appeals today can (...) no longer depend on their own self-evidence, but must be attempts to uncover commonality as to what is natural. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. The postmodern challenge: from modernity to postmodernity; 2. Traditional natural law: differences in Aristotle and Aquinas; 3. Patterns in historical thinking about the good; 4. The challenge of modernity: religious wars and the need for universal law; 5. The challenges of naturalism: legal realism or natural law; 6. Objectivity without a metaphysical foundation; 7. Contemporary natural law: practical rationality and legal opinions; 8. Natural law as a theory with metaphysical baggage: postmodern (...) law; 9. Natural law as the moral law; 10. Natural moral law in a postmodern world. (shrink)
Ethical constraints on relations among individuals within and between societies have always reflected or invoked a higher authority than the caprices of human will. For over two thousand years Natural Law and Natural Rights were the constellations of ideas and presuppositions that fulfilled this role in the west, and exhibited far greater similarities than most commentators want to admit. Such ideas were the lens through which Europeans evaluated the rest of the world. In his major new book David (...) Boucher rejects the view that Natural Rights constituted a secularisation of Natural Law ideas by showing that most of the significant thinkers in the field, in their various ways, believed that reason leads you to the discovery of your obligations, while God provides the ground for discharging them. Furthermore, the book maintains that Natural Rights and Human Rights are far less closely related than is often asserted because Natural Rights never cast adrift the religious foundationalism, whereas Human Rights, for the most part, have jettisoned the Christian metaphysics upon which both Natural Law and Natural Rights depended. Human Rights theories, on the whole, present us with foundationless universal constraints on the actions of individuals, both domestically and internationally. Finally, one of the principal contentions of the book is that these purportedly universal rights and duties almost invariably turn out to be conditional, and upon close scrutiny end up being 'special' rights and privileges as the examples of multicultural encounters, slavery and racism, and women's rights demonstrate. (shrink)
Nagle, Cormac M Global warming has made us much more aware of the need to respect the physical laws of nature and make responsible decisions. This article examines the nature and role of the concept of natural law in guiding us to choose morally and wisely in face of the responsibilities and especially the conflicting values encountered in daily living.
This major addition to Ideas in Context examines the development of natural law theories in the early stages of the Enlightenment in Germany and France. T. J. Hochstrasser investigates the influence exercised by theories of natural law from Grotius to Kant, with a comparative analysis of the important intellectual innovations in ethics and political philosophy of the time. Hochstrasser includes the writings of Samuel Pufendorf and his followers who evolved a natural law theory based on human (...) sociability and reason, fostering a new methodology in German philosophy. This book assesses the first histories of political thought since ancient times, giving insights into the nature and influence of debate within eighteenth-century natural jurisprudence. Ambitious in range and conceptually sophisticated, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment will be of great interest to scholars in history, political thought, law and philosophy. Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment has been selected as the winner of the annual Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best book in intellectual history published in 2000. (shrink)
The integration of personalism into business ethics has been recently studied. Research has also been conducted on humanistic management approaches. The conceptual relationship between personalism and humanism , however, has not been fully addressed. This article furthers that research by arguing that a true humanistic management is personalistic. Moreover, it claims that personalism is promising as a sound philosophical foundation for business ethics. Insights from Jacques Maritain’s work are discussed in support of these conclusions. Of particular interest is (...) his distinction between human person and individual based on a realistic metaphysics that, in turn, grounds human dignity and the natural law as the philosophical basis for human rights, personal virtues, and a common good defined in terms of properly human ends. Although Maritain is widely regarded as one of the foremost twentieth century personalist philosophers, his contribution has not been sufficiently considered in the business ethics and humanistic management literature. Important implications of Maritainian personalism for business ethics as philosophical study and as practical professional pursuit are discussed. (shrink)
The Natural Law Tradition has been at the very heart of western ethical, political and jurisprudential development. The purpose of the present volume is to collect together a representative and wide-ranging series of readings which fall within the auspices of the oldest and historically most authoritative of these and takes the discussion into the modern world with readings in metaphysics, jurisprudence, politics and ethics. This project, drawing upon the metaphysical and ethical categories most famously stated and developed by (...) Aristotle and Aquinas, has at its core a vision of human nature, both as individual and social, material and immaterial. An exciting foray into the foundations of Western civilisation, the readings offer the reader a focal point for discussion surrounding the natural law tradition. (shrink)
Business ethics is not a novelty: it has important antecedents, among which we find the Spanish "Salamanca School". Its most brilliant period was during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, a historical epoch when Spain was one of the principal centers of commerce in Europe. In this article, we present a panoramic view of business ethics as developed by this school and discuss its potential contributions to new developments in business ethics. The Salamanca School was primarily focused (...) on action, yet ultimately oriented to the agent. The Salamanca School's authors were theologians seeking to harmonize faith, reason and social reality. Many of them were very well-acquainted with the business dynamics of their day and issued precise assessments of them. In their writings, they also considered fundamental aspects of the market economy (property, prices, monopolies, profit, etc.). Their moral reasoning follows the natural-law of Thomas Aquinas, but places greater emphasis on empirical data. In the context of a global economy, the Salamanca School's open, universal approach is especially worthy of consideration. (shrink)
Herbert McCabe, OP (d. 2001), was a significant theological figure in England in the last century. A scholar of Aquinas, he was also influenced by Wittgenstein and Marx, his reading of whom helped him articulate a distinctive Thomistic account of human embodiment that serves as a critique of other dominant approaches in ethics. This article shows McCabe's contribution to moral theology by placing his work in conversation with other important approaches, namely, situation ethics, proportionalism, and the New (...) class='Hi'>Natural Law Theory. (shrink)
. Although the pages of Journal of Business Ethics have hosted an ongoing dialogue on the ethics of rhetoric and persuasion, the debates have been unable to account for the underlying morality of the human propensity to engage in rhetorical discourse as a part of living in society. In this paper, I offer natural-law ethical theory as a moral paradigm in which to examine rhetoric. In this context, I assert that rhetoric services reason, which in turn services (...) our dispositions or inclinations that are one ideological foundation of natural-law theory. As rhetoric affects the apprehension of these dispositions it subsumes a related morality in which rhetorical endeavors can be seen as “natural”. So endowed, I believe that this conception of rhetoric offers a number of philosophical and practical implications, one of which is a new way to assess the morality of commercial manifestations of rhetoric such as spin and the use of puffery in advertising. (shrink)
Cultural diversity and globalization bring about a tension between universal ethics and local values and norms. Simultaneously, the current globalization and the existence of an increasingly interconnected world seem to require a common ground to promote dialog, peace, and a more humane world. This article is the introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Business Ethics regarding these problems. We highlight five topics, which intertwine the eight papers of this issue. The first is whether moral diversity (...) in different cultures is a plausible argument for moral relativism. The second focuses on the possibility of finding shared values and virtues worldwide. The third topic deals with convectional universalistic ethical theories in a global world and the problems they present. Fourth, we consider the traditional natural moral law approach in the context of a global world. The last topic is about human rights, as a practical proposal for introducing universal standards in business. (shrink)
In the Ethics, Abelard discusses the example of a judge who knowingly convicts an innocent defendant. He claims that this judge does rightly whenhe punishes the innocent man to the full extent of the law. Yet this claim seems counterintuitive, and, at first glance, contrary to Abelard’s own ethical system. Nevertheless, I argue that Abelard’s ethical system cannot be viewed as completely subjective, since the rightness of an individual act of consent is grounded in objective standards established by God. (...) Likewise, any particular civil government must derive its authority objectively from the natural and/or Christian laws, which ground its possibility and function. In this paper, I examine Abelard’s explication of the natural law, discoverable through reason, and the divine laws, knowable only through revelation, in order to explore what form an adequate civil law would have to take under which the judge could be said to have acted rightly. (shrink)