This book introduces Islam as the religion of inclusive monotheism, supporting a holistic approach toward the entire creation, including man and humanity, and taking into consideration directly all his physical, rational, emotion, and spiritual needs.
Natural law is a perennial though poorly represented and understood issue in political philosophy and the philosophy of law. Mark C. Murphy argues that the central thesis of natural law jurisprudence--that law is backed by decisive reasons for compliance--sets the agenda for natural law political philosophy, which demonstrates how law gains its binding force by way of the common good of the political community. Murphy's work ranges over the central questions of natural law jurisprudence and political (...) philosophy, including the formulation and defense of the natural law jurisprudential thesis, the nature of the common good, the connection between the promotion of the common good and requirement of obedience to law, and the justification of punishment. (shrink)
Contemporary social theory and natural law : Jurgen Habermas -- A natural-law critique of modern social theory : Karl Lowith, Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin -- Natural law and the question of universalism -- Modern natural law I : Hobbes and Rousseau on the state of nature and social life -- Modern natural law II : Kant and Hegel on proceduralism and ethical life -- Classical social theory I : Marx, Tonnies and Durkheim on alienation, (...) community and society -- Classical social theory II : Simmel and Weber on the universality of sociability and reasonableness -- Social theory as the natural law of 'artificial' social relations. (shrink)
Natural law theory is enjoying a revival of interest in a variety of scholarly disciplines including law, philosophy, political science, and theology and religious studies. This volume presents twelve original essays by leading natural law theorists and their critics. The contributors discuss natural law theories of morality, law and legal reasoning, politics, and the rule of law. Readers get a clear sense of the wide diversity of viewpoints represented among contemporary theorists, and an opportunity to evaluate (...) the arguments and counterarguments exchanged in the current debates between natural law theorists and their critics. Contributors include Hadley Arkes, Joseph M. Boyle, Jr., John Finnis, Robert P. George, Russell Hittinger, Neil MacCormick, Michael Moore, Jeffrey Stout, Joseph Raz, Jeremy Waldron, Lloyd Weinreb, and Ernest Weinrib. (shrink)
The study of natural law theories is presently one of the most fruitful areas of research in the studies of early modern intellectual history, and moral and political theory. Likewise the historical significance of the Enlightenment for the development of `modernisation' in many different forms continues to be the subject of controversy. This collection therefore offers a timely opportunity to re-examine both the coherence of the concept of an `early Enlightenment', and the specific contribution of natural law theories (...) to its formation. The works of major thinkers such as Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Malebranche, Pufendorf and Thomasius are reassessed, and the appeal and importance of the discourse of natural jurisprudence both to those working inside conventional educational and political structures and to those outside - such as in the Huguenot diaspora - is evaluated. This volume will therefore be of importance to all those readers concerned to study the character of the debates in the period 1650-1750 surrounding moral and political agency, sovereignty and obligation, and the legitimation of religious toleration in the divergent states and patriotic contexts of Europe. (shrink)
It is not clear, on the face of it, whether Thomas Hobbes's legal philosophy should be considered to be an early example of legal positivism or continuous with the natural-law tradition. On the one hand, Hobbes's command theory of law seems characteristically positivistic. On the other hand, his conception of the "law of nature," as binding on both sovereign and subject, seems to point more naturally toward a natural-law reading of his philosophy. Yet despite this seeming ambiguity, Hobbes (...) scholars, for the most part, have placed him within the legal-positivist tradition. Indeed, Hobbes is usually regarded as the father of legal positivism. Recently, however, a growing number of commentators has begun to question this traditional classification. Although it is clear that Hobbes is not a natural lawyer of the same mold as Thomas Aquinas, it is, nevertheless, increasingly becoming evident that the traditional characterization of Hobbes as a positivist in the same vein as Jeremy Bentham or John Austin is also incorrect. There are important naturallaw aspects of Hobbes's view that one ignores only at the cost of a proper understanding of his theory of law. (shrink)
The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. -/- In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow principally from two (...) class='Hi'>aspects of the NNL. The first aspect is its distinctive version of the planning theory of intention, in which adopting the 'first-person perspective' of an agent is a sufficient, and not merely necessary, condition for determining the nature of his intentional action; this planning theory rests upon an implicitly Cartesian conception of human behavior, in which behavior chosen by an agent has no intrinsic “intentionalness” apart from what he confers upon it as part of his plan. The second aspect is the NNL's distinctive account of basic human goods' incommensurability, according to which there is no common factor shared by basic human goods that allows them to be comparatively ranked in any way that directs practical deliberation. -/- The entailments of these two aspects of the NNL, we argue, amount to a reductio ad absurdum. Pace the proponents of the NNL account, we sketch an alternative hylomorphic conception of intentional action that avoids untoward moral implications by grounding human agency in the exercise of basic powers that are either (a) essential constituents of human nature or (b) acquired through participation in social practices. This conception of intentional action provides a stronger foundation for natural law theory. (shrink)
The Euthyphro problem and the natural law : an investigation of some aspects of the medieval debate on natural law -- Aristotle : natural law and man in the "metaxy" -- St. Thomas Aquinas : the "lex naturalis" -- Thomas Hobbes : The state of nature and natural rights -- John Locke : natural law, natural rights and God -- Concluding remarks and a heavenly dialogue.
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)
In this article, I argue that - despite the absence of any clear influence of one theory on the other - the legal theories of Dworkin and Hegel share several similar and, at times, unique positions that join them together within a distinctive school of legal theory, sharing a middle position between natural law and legal positivism. In addition, each theory can help the other in addressing certain internal difficulties. By recognizing both Hegel and Dworkin as proponents of a (...) position lying in between natural law and legal positivist jurisprudence, we can gain clarity in why their general legal theories seem to fit uncomfortably, if indeed they can be said to fit at all, within so many different camps - while fitting comfortably in no particular camp - as well as highlight what has been overlooked. (shrink)
Law, we are told, is a system of rules, created by men to govern human behaviour. Students of law, introduced to legal systems, become familiar with varied sources of law – legislative, judicial and executive in character. There are undoubtedly prescriptive human rules that govern men set up by public authorities that are advertised as being for the common good. These appear as visible, socially constructed systems in different jurisdictions and even as international systems across jurisdictions. But is this all (...) there is to law? Is law merely a human construct subject to flux, different according to time and place? Or must law, in its fullest sense, be seen as an activity that needs to be interpreted aright, binds the human conscience and is answerable to certain universal and timeless demands? Is there any natural moral law common to all men, universal and timeless? (shrink)
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)
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 natural law, a (...) test case : euthanasia yesterday and today -- The natural law and public morality : second thoughts on what is at stake. (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.
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)
The tradition of natural law is one of the foundations of Western civilization. At its heart is the conviction that there is an objective and universal justice which transcends humanity’s particular expressions of justice. It asserts that there are certain ways of behaving which are appropriate to humanity simply by virtue of the fact that we are all human beings. Recent political debates indicate that it is not a tradition that has gone unchallenged: in fact, the opposition is as (...) old as the tradition itself. By distinguishing between philosophy and ideology, by recalling the historical adventures of natural law, and by reviewing the theoretical problems involved in the doctrine, Simon clarifies much of the confusion surrounding this perennial debate. He tackles the questions raised by the application of natural law with skill and honesty as he faces the difficulties of the subject. Simon warns against undue optimism in a revival of interest in natural law and insists that the study of natural law beings with the analysis of “the law of the land.” He writes not as a polemicist but as a philosopher, and he writes of natural law with the same force, conciseness, lucidity and simplicity which have distinguished all his other works. (shrink)
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)
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)
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.
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 major contribution to the history of philosophy provides the most comprehensive guide to modern natural law theory available, sets out the full background to liberal ideas of rights and contractarianism, and offers an extensive study of the Scottish Enlightenment. The time span covered is considerable: from the natural law theories of Grotius and Suarez in the early seventeenth century to the American Revolution and the beginnings of utilitarianism. After a detailed survey of modern natural law theory, (...) the book focuses on the Scottish Enlightenment and its European and American connections. Knud Haakonssen explains the relationship between natural law and civic humanist republicanism, and he shows the relevance of these ideas for the understanding of David Hume and Adam Smith. The result is a completely revised background to modern ideas of liberalism and communitarianism. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
New natural lawyers--notably Grisez, Finnis, and George--have written much on civil marriage's moral boundaries and grounds, but with slight influence. The peripheral place of the new natural law theory (NNLT) results from the marital grounds they suggest and the exclusionary moral conclusions they draw from them. However, I argue a more authentic and attractive NNLT account of marriage is recoverable through overlooked resources within the theory itself: friendship and moral self-constitution. This reconstructed account allows us to identify the (...) relation between marriage and human flourishing and the morality of same-sex marriage without making marriage infinitely plastic. (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)
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)
Introduction -- Saint Thomas : putting nature into natural law -- Maritain and the love for the natural law -- The new natural law and evolutionary natural law -- International human rights, natural law, and Locke -- Conclusion : evil and the limits of the natural law.
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.
Conscience in Thomas's understanding of natural law -- The objections of the ancient philosophers -- The objections of the Calvinist christians -- On the possibility of revising Thomas's teaching on conscience -- Those who deny the existence of human nature -- Those who deny the moral relevancy of human nature -- Those who deny the ancient understanding of human nature.
Aquinas needs no introduction as one of the greatest minds of the middle ages. Highly influential on the development of Christian doctrine, his ideas are still of fundamental philosophical importance. This new critique of his natural law theory discusses the theory's background in Aristotle and advances new interpretations of contemporary legal issues which hark back to Aquinas.
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.
Samuel Pufendorf is one of the most important moral and political philosophers of the seventeenth century. His theory, which builds on Grotius and Hobbes, was immediately recognized as a classic and taken up by writers as diverse as Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Smith. Over the past twenty years there has been a renaissance of Pufendorf scholarship. On the Duty of Man and Citizen is Pufendorf's own epitome of his monumental On the Law of Nature and of Nations, and it served (...) as a basic text in European universities throughout the Enlightenment. This edition has a lucid and historically sensitive translation by Michael Silverthorne, the first since the early twentieth century. James Tully's introduction sets the text in its context, summarizes the main arguments, surveys recent literature on Pufendorf, and shows how Pufendorf transformed natural law theory into an independent discipline of juristic political philosophy that dominated reflection on politics until Kant. (shrink)
What is justice? -- The idea of justice in the Holy Scriptures -- Platonic justice -- Aristotle's doctrine of justice -- The natural-law doctrine before the tribunal of science -- A "dynamic" theory of natural law -- Absolutism and relativism in philosophy and politics -- Value judgments in the science of law -- The law as a specific social technique -- Why should the law be obeyed? -- The pure theory of the law and analytical jurisprudence -- Law, (...) state, and justice in the pure theory of law -- Causality and retribution -- Causality and imputation -- Science and politics. (shrink)
Fundamentalist forms of religion today claim authority everywhere, including the debates over the politics and constitutional law of liberal democracies. This book examines this general question through its critical evaluation of a recent school of thought: that of the new natural lawyers. The new natural lawyers are the lawyers of the current Vatical hierarchy, polemically concerned to defend its retrograde views on matters of sexuality and gender in terms of arguments that, in fact, notably lack the philosophical rigor (...) of the historical Thomism they claim to honor. The book critiques forms of fundamentalism and offers an original argument both for how they arose and why they are unreasonable in contemporary circumstances. (shrink)
The semiotic investigation of the divine or transcendent authoriality of religious law involves, in the context of discussions concerning the propriety or impropriety of the influence of religion in “secular” political and legal systems, preliminary boundary work to discern the meanings of “religion”, “secular”, and “belief.” Jeremy Waldron’s account of the propriety of religion in “secular” politics, mirroring but reversing John Rawls’ account of religion’s impropriety in that context, can be contrasted with neo-Calvinist (and other) conceptions of pluralism and (...) the inevitability of fundamental “beliefs” in all political and legal thought. In the latter perspectives, religious believers are neither unique in their appeal to transcendent values, nor relegated to advancing theocracy (because pluralism is conceived as a religious value rather than religion’s opposite). A workable alternative to the conventional discourse of religious influence in politics and law is therefore evident. (shrink)
The debate between Lon Fuller and HLA Hart on the nature of law rests on two views on the connection between law and having a reason for action. Fuller's assumes that to say that something is a law is by itself reason-providing; Hart's view must deny this. If we can identify whether something is a law purely by descriptive criteria, then for something to be a law should not by itself provide an agent with any reason for action, however weak.
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)
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)
This Major Reference series brings together a wide range of key international articles in law and legal theory. Many of these essays are not readily accessible, and their presentation in these volumes will provide a vital new resource for both research and teaching. Each volume is edited by leading international authorities who explain the significance and context of articles in an informative and complete introduction.
Thomas Hobbes' timeless account of the human condition, first developed in The Elements of Law (1640), which comprises Human Nature and De Corpore Politico, is a direct product of the intellectual and political strife of the seventeenth century. His analysis of the war between the individual and the group lays out the essential strands of his moral and political philosophy later made famous in Leviathan. This first ever complete paperback edition of Human Nature and De Corpore Politico is also supplemented (...) by chapters from Hobbes' later work De Corpore and "The Three Lives," never before published together in English. (shrink)
Part I: The birth of religious naturalism -- Philosophical religious naturalism -- Theological religious naturalism -- Analyzing the issues -- Interlude religious naturalism in literature -- Part II: The rebirth of religious naturalism -- Sources of religious insight -- Current issues in religious naturalism -- Other current religious naturalists -- Conclusion: Living religiously as a naturalist.
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)
Informal customs are the casual norms for most young adults in matters of sexual intimacy. Unfortunately, the sexual revolution has not proven to be as beneficial to women as was once thought and young men enjoy themselves without preparing themselves to be husbands and fathers. In this book, Piderit argues that a natural law approach to morality provides a grounded pathway toward marriage, and shows why these fairly traditional practices help young people find a partner to whom he or (...) she can realistically promise love "until death do us part." -/- Any effective culture consists of practices, which are accompanied by narratives, norms, and benefits. By offering theory but focusing on practices, this book helps young adults understand why sexual intimacy should be reserved to marriage. The first two thirds of the book develop the natural law approach; seeking common ground early in the volume makes it possible to understand a Christian approach to morality as grounded in nature, not primarily in religion. The goal is to highlight the reasonableness of this approach. The final third (Part III) of the book explores what religious practice and membership in a Christian denomination adds to the natural law approach. In addition to a morality based on natural law, Piderit also proposes a morality based on virtue ethics, which give precedence to positive goals over forbidden actions. The focus is on individual actions, explaining why any individual action falls into the category of exemplary, acceptable, or corrosive; these are terms developed, explained, and used in the book. Individual actions, of course, get repeated over time, and this leads to the formation of habits. And the reason for bracketing the formation of habits is to focus on individual actions and in this way make clear to young readers why certain actions lead to human fulfillment and why others actions undermine that fulfillment. (shrink)
Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with a (...) thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'. (shrink)