He has also failed to appreciate the crucial roles of free markets, property rights, and private charity. Those living at the thirtieth to fiftieth percentiles saw their real income rise by more than 50 percent. Private charity is unleashed by applying natural-law, moral and economic principles and can be far more effective and efficient than the government redistribution favored by Pope Francis.
Contemporary Essays edited by Robert P. My memory of that occasion is vivid: Father Niemeyer approached the topic of natural law as if it essentially concerned moral objectivity, and, from his point of view, Kant was as much a defender of the theory of natural law as Suarez; McInerny and I quibbled about how much of the specifically Thomist project can still be defended; and William F.
Buckley, the host of the program, was primarily concerned about whether a natural law argument could be mounted to show that the progressive income tax was unjust. In short, we spent most of the program simply talking past one another.
Professor George somehow convinced many of the leading participants in the contemporary discussion of natural law to contribute to this collection, and he is to be commended. Nevertheless, one comes away from reading it with the impression that at the heart of the contemporary debate about natural law there is not a single set of relatively well-defined issues, but rather a complicated, and sometimes confusing, set of problems and queries that intersect at odd angles.
The collection, to be sure, is none the worse for this, representing so perfectly as it does the untidy state of the current discussion. Notoriously, the natural law theory of Aquinas brings together two traditions of ethical thought in a synthesis that many persons since have thought illegitimate.
Aquinas drew on the then newly discovered Aristotelian texts to develop an ethical theory of a deeply eudaimonistic sort, emphasizing the teleological structure of ethical thought and placing the concept of virtue at the center of his picture of the successful human life.
This classical Greek picture, however, is laid over the more legalistic picture of the successful life found in the Hebrew Scriptures as well as in Roman and, later, canon law. But this synthesis has seemed to some to be unstable; natural law theories have tended to lean more in the direction either of Aristotle and the virtues or of the Old Testament and the law.
While Boyle aims to preserve law from corruption by the virtues, Hittinger fears that developing a concept of law prior to that of personal excellence as embodied in the virtues will yield an account of law too thin, really, to inform human life.
Making law prior to virtue or, in the jargon of contemporary ethics, the right prior to the good, might indeed be regarded as the abiding vice of political liberalism.
One might call it so, that is, were it not for the fact that there are a number of issues deserving of this characterization. Finnis and his friends claim that the natural law theory as originally developed by St.
Thomas was hijacked by later moral theologians who add to it certain accretions of argumentation that distort its original intent. Finnis attributes to the hijackers the view that Thomist theory claims that the natural law is somehow deduced from certain metaphysical features of the world, in particular a metaphysical account of the human agent and his natural end.
If natural law theory is what the revisionists say it is, then Hume and his followers are right: Finnis argues, however, that the revisionists are wrong; Aquinas in fact held the view that the first principles of natural law, far from being derived from metaphysical features of the world, are instead self-evident.
If they are self-evident, then Humean charges are irrelevant and natural law theory can avoid what many regard as the most serious modern objection to it.
This view, brilliantly deployed and defended by Finnis et al. They argue that Finnis has taken the so-called fact-value problem on board just when most philosophers including many who are not special friends of natural law are jettisoning it.
The ensuing debate has become very complicated, with parties on both sides combing Question 94 of the I—II of the Summa looking for some smoking gun that will polish off their opponents.
A number of pieces in the George collection are devoted to this controversy. Finnis himself contributes a piece in which he seeks to show the superiority of his own view to certain other current jurisprudential theories, including those of the Critical Legal Studies movement and of Ronald Dworkin.
And Professor George, a longtime defender of the Finnis view, examines the criticism of this view by McInerny and others who claim that the Finnis position completely severs an account of human nature from its account of morality.
The debate between Finnis and his opponents does not exhaust the metaphysical questions taken up in this volume.
Many of the papers examine the more general question of how much classical metaphysics is required for any adequate defense of natural law. Natural law thinking emerged in the ancient world in the context of a certain teleological conception of the world.
The decline in natural law thinking after the seventeenth century is often explained by the steady erosion of this teleological picture of the world under the pressure of the new science. Alasdair MacIntyre has argued in his influential After Virtue that it was the collapse of this teleological picture that made a classical defense of morality impossible and that led to the fatuous and ultimately failed enlightenment attempts to defend morality in a world devoid of natural ends.
Modern rationalist thought, however, has attempted to preserve the force and objectivity of traditional moral thought without what it regards as the needless baggage of traditional metaphysics.
This goal, pursued most brilliantly and influentially by Kant and his disciples, often involves invoking the notion of natural law.“A new collection of essays edited by Robert Whaples, with proven data from the world of economics and politics in dialogue with the Church’s immemorial commitment to natural law theory.
"Pope Francis and the Caring Society, edited by Robert Whaples, a Roman Catholic professor of economics at Wake Forest University, is an. 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. Just as the discovery of the ova in the s displaced the homunculus theory of reproduction and had implications for natural law and sexual norms, so too a more profound understanding of the sexual person has implications for natural law and sexual norms.
THE JOURNAL OF LAW. AND RELIGION. Volume XVI Number 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Edward McGlynn. Gaffney, Jr.. Guest Editor’s Introduction: The Making of. Many Books. Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering, ashio-midori.comg John With St. Thomas Aquinas: Theological Exegesis And Speculative Theology. (Catholic University of America.
The article has for context a focus of the contemporary Catholic re-examination of moral norms: the principle of double effect, which some claim can be reduced to the criterion of understanding of the natural law tradition, and the use of the principles of the double George, Robert P.
"Liberty under the Moral Law: On B. Hoose's Critique.