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Critique of the New Natural Law Theory

Russell Hittinger

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University of Notre Dame Press img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Allgemeines, Lexika

Beschreibung

In this volume Russell Hittinger presents a comprehensive and critical treatment of the attempt to restate and defend a theory of natural law, particularly as proposed by Germain Grisez and John Finnis. A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory begins by examining the positions of various moral philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Alan Donogan, Elizabeth Anscombe, and Stanley Hauerwas, who wish to recover particular facets of premodern ethics. Hittinger then explores the work of Grisez and Finnis, who claim to have recovered natural law in a manner that avoids the standard objections brought against it since the Enlightenment; they thus claim to have recovered natural law theory available once again for moral theology. Hittinger examines this new theory for internal coherence and consistency. In addition, he examines whether it is sufficiently comprehensive to explicate the religious, anthropological, and metaphysical questions that bear upon natural law ethics. He argues that the new natural law theory fails because it does not take into account philosophical anthropology and metaphysics. It cannot show how and why “nature” is normative for human activity. Hittinger concludes that if natural law theory is to be recovered, we must discover how to constructively bring theoretical rationality to bear upon ethics and practical rationality. Until this is done, he asserts, we will not have a defensible theory of natural law.

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