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Journal Articles

Natural law

Natural Law

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Reason, Revelation, Universality And Particularity In Ethics, John M. Finnis Jan 2008

Reason, Revelation, Universality And Particularity In Ethics, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This address to a philosophical conference on truth and faith in ethics engages in an extended critique of the account of truth in Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness: an essay in genealogy (Princeton University Press, 2002). For any jurisprudential, moral or political theory that affirms natural law needs to respond first to sceptical denials that reason can discover any truths about what ends all human individuals or groups ought to pursue. But any such theory also needs to make clear how it differs from, even when it coincides in moral judgment with, bodies of moral teaching self-identified as part of ...


Editorial Introduction, Gerard V. Bradley, John M. Finnis Jan 2001

Editorial Introduction, Gerard V. Bradley, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This Article is a forward to nine articles from the 2001 Symposium on Natural Law and Human Fulfillment, held at Notre Dame Law School. The Symposium was held to mark the 35th anniversary of the publication of Germain Grisez's "The First Principle of Practical Reason: A Commentary on the Summa Theologiae."


Natural Law And The Ethics Of Discourse, John M. Finnis Jan 1998

Natural Law And The Ethics Of Discourse, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This essay argues that Plato's critical analysis of the ethics of discourse is superior to Habermas', and more generally that Habermas has no sufficient reason to propose or suppose the philosophical superiority of "modernity." The failure of Hume and Kant and much modern philosophy to understand the concept and content of reasons for action underlies Habermas' attempted distinction between ethics and morality, and Rawls' concept of public reason. A proper study of discourse also yields a metaphysics of the person, and thus reinforces the ethics.


Liberalism And Natural Law Theory, John M. Finnis Jan 1994

Liberalism And Natural Law Theory, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


Natural Law And Legal Reasoning, John M. Finnis Jan 1990

Natural Law And Legal Reasoning, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Much academic theory about legal reasoning greatly exaggerates the extent to which reason can settle what is greater good or lesser evil, and minimizes the need for authoritative sources which, so far as they are clear and respect the few absolute moral rights and duties, are to be respected as the only rational basis for judicial reasoning and decision, in relation to the countless issues which do not directly involve those absolute rights and duties. A natural law theory in the classical tradition makes no pretense that natural reason can determine the one right answer to those countless questions which ...


Concluding Reflections, John M. Finnis Jan 1990

Concluding Reflections, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

A symposium to which one person contributes three extended papers is no unmixed pleasure for readers. This third contribution of mine will interest only those curious to see my response to other symposiasts' comments on my earlier efforts (in the symposium and elsewhere). To enable this curiosity to be satisfied as costlessly as possible, I divide these concluding reflections by authors rather than themes, though with priorities suggested by themes rather than authors.


Practical Principles, Moral Truth, And Ultimate Ends, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle Jan 1987

Practical Principles, Moral Truth, And Ultimate Ends, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle

Journal Articles

The natural-law theory on which we have been working during the past twenty-five years has stimulated many critical responses. We have restated the theory in various works, not always calling attention to developments. This paper reformulates some parts of the theory, taking into account the criticisms of which we are aware.


The "Natural Law Tradition", John M. Finnis Jan 1986

The "Natural Law Tradition", John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This "tradition of natural law theory" has three main features: First, critique and rejection of ethical scepticism, dogmatism and conventionalism; Second, clarification of the methodology of descriptive and explanatory social theories (e.g., political science, economics, jurisprudence .... ); Third, critique and rejection of aggregative conceptions of the right and the just (e.g., consequentialism, utilitarianism, wealth-maximization, "proportionalism"...).


The Basic Principles Of Natural Law: A Reply To Ralph Mcinerny, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez Jan 1981

The Basic Principles Of Natural Law: A Reply To Ralph Mcinerny, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez

Journal Articles

In the preceding volume of this journal, Prof. Mclnerny criticized certain theoretical positions of Finnis and Grisez as well as their interpretation of St. Thomas. In the present article Finnis and Grisez reply that Mclnerny's criticisms lack cogency, because he has misunderstood their theories, judged their exegesis by his own different interpretation assumed gratuitously to be correct, and mixed philosophical and historical criticism in a way which helps to clarify neither the problems of ethical theory nor those of Thomistic exegesis.