At the centre of our ethical thought stands the human being. Roger Teichmann examines the ways in which facts about human nature determine the shape of ethical concepts such as rationality, virtue, and happiness. He argues that only by attending to the social and empirical character of language use can we address a number of problems in ethics.
Throughout this introductory text, progress, decline, and redemption constitute a systematic framework for examining the central terms of Catholic theology, as well as key notions in Lonergan's theology. The book provides a firm foundation for students of Lonergan as well as anyone interested in understanding Catholic theology and applying it to ministry, education, and other fields.
The Humanity of Private Law presents a new way of thinking about English private law. Making a decisive break from earlier views of private law, which saw private law as concerned with wealth-maximisation or preserving relationships of mutual independence between its subjects, the author argues that English private law's core concern is the flourishing of its subjects. THIS VOLUME - presents a critique of alternative explanations of private law; - defines and sets out the key building blocks of private law; - sets out the vision of human flourishing (the RP) that English private law has in mind in seeking to promote its subjects' flourishing; - shows how various features of English private law are fine-tuned to ensure that its subjects enjoy a flourishing existence, according to the vision of human flourishing provided by the RP; - explains how other features of English private law are designed to preserve private law's legitimacy while it pursues its core concern of promoting human flourishing; - defends the view of English private law presented here against arguments that it does not adequately fit the rules and doctrines of private law, or that it is implausible to think that English private law is concerned with promoting human flourishing. A follow-up volume will question whether the RP is correct as an account of what human flourishing involves, and consider what private law would look like if it sought to give effect to a more authentic vision of human flourishing. The Humanity of Private Law is essential reading for students, academics and judges who are interested in understanding private law in common law jurisdictions, and for anyone interested in the nature and significance of human flourishing.
This noteworthy book develops a new theory of the natural law that takes its orientation from the account of the natural law developed by Thomas Aquinas, as interpreted and supplemented in the context of scholastic theology in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Though this history might seem irrelevant to twenty-first-century life, Jean Porter shows that the scholastic approach to the natural law still has much to contribute to the contemporary discussion of Christian ethics. Aquinas and his interlocutors provide a way of thinking about the natural law that is distinctively theological while at the same time remaining open to other intellectual perspectives, including those of science. In the course of her work, Porter examines the scholastics' assumptions and beliefs about nature, Aquinas's account of happiness, and the overarching claim that reason can generate moral norms. Ultimately, Porter argues that a Thomistic theory of the natural law is well suited to provide a starting point for developing a more nuanced account of the relationship between specific beliefs and practices. While Aquinas's approach to the natural law may not provide a system of ethical norms that is both universally compelling and detailed enough to be practical, it does offer something that is arguably more valuable -- namely, a way of reflecting theologically on the phenomenon of human morality.
This edited volume examines the realizations between theological considerations and natural law theorizing, from Plato to Spinoza. Theological considerations have long had a pronounced role in Catholic natural law theories, but have not been as thoroughly examined from a wider perspective. The contributors to this volume take a more inclusive view of the relation between conceptions of natural law and theistic claims and principles. They do not jointly defend one particular thematic claim, but articulate diverse ways in which natural law has both been understood and related to theistic claims. In addition to exploring Plato and the Stoics, the volume also looks at medieval Jewish thought, the thought of Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham, and the ways in which Spinoza's thought includes resonances of earlier views and intimations of later developments. Taken as a whole, these essays enlarge the scope of the discussion of natural law through study of how the naturalness of natural law has often been related to theses about the divine. The latter are often crucial elements of natural law theorizing, having an integral role in accounting for the metaethical status and ethical bindingness of natural law. At the same time, the question of the relation between natural law and God-and the relation between natural law and divine command-has been addressed in a multiplicity of ways by key figures throughout the history of natural law theorizing, and these essays accord them the explanatory significance they deserve.
In Hegel’s Idea of the Good Life, Joshua D. Goldstein presents the first book-length study of the development and meaning of Hegel’s account of human flourishing. This volume will be welcomed by philosophers and political theorists seeking to engage with the details of Hegel’s early and mature social thought. By bringing Hegel’s earliest writings into dialogue with his Philosophy of Right, Goldstein argues that Hegel’s mature political philosophy should be understood as a response to his youthful failure to build a sustainable account of the good life upon the foundations of ancient virtue. This study reveals how Hegel’s mature response integrates ancient concerns for the well-ordered life and modern concerns for autonomy in a new, robust conception of selfhood that can be actualized across the full expanse of the modern political community.
This book features many of the leading voices championing the revival of Neo-Aristotelian Ethical Naturalism (AN) in contemporary philosophy. It addresses the whole range of issues facing this research program at present. Coverage in the collection identifies differentiations, details standpoints, and points out new perspectives. This volume answers a need: AN is quite new to contemporary philosophy, despite its deep roots in the history of philosophy. As yet, there are many unanswered questions regarding its relation to contemporary views in metaethics. It is certainly not equivalent to dominant naturalistic approaches to metaethics in Anglophone philosophy. Indeed, it is not obviously incompatible with some approaches identified as nonnaturalistic. Further, there are controversies regarding the views of the first wave of virtue revivalists. The work of G.E.M. Anscombe and Philippa Foot is frequently misunderstood, despite the fact that they are important figures in the contemporary revival. This volume details a robust approach to ethics by situating it within the context of human life. It will help readers to better understand how AN raises deep questions about the relation of action and its evaluation to human nature. Neo-Aristotelians argue that something like the traditional cardinal virtues, practical wisdom, temperance, justice and courage, are qualities that perfect human reason and desire.
This reading of Aristotle's Politics builds on the insight that the history of political philosophy is a series of configurations of nature and reason. Aristotle's conceptualization of nature is unique because it is not opposed to or subordinated to reason. Adriel M. Trott uses Aristotle's definition of nature as an internal source of movement to argue that he viewed community as something that arises from the activity that forms it rather than being a form imposed on individuals. Using these definitions, Trott develops readings of Aristotle's four arguments for the naturalness of the polis, interprets deliberation and the constitution in Politics as the form and final causes of the polis, and reconsiders Aristotle's treatment of slaves and women. Trott then argues that Aristotle is relevant for contemporary efforts to improve and encourage genuine democratic practices.
This volume addresses issues of moral pluralism and polarization by drawing attention to the transcendent character of the good. It probes the history of Christian theology and moral philosophy to investigate the value of this idea and then relates it to contemporary moral issues. The good is transcendent in that it goes beyond concrete goods, things, acts, or individual preferences. It functions as the pole of a compass that helps orient our moral life. This volume explores the critical tension between the transcendent good and its concrete embodiments in the world through concepts like conscience, natural and divine law, virtue, and grace. The chapters are divided into three parts. Part I discusses metaphysical issues like the realist nature and the unity of the good in relation to philosophical, naturalist, and theological approaches from Augustine to Iris Murdoch. The chapters in Part II explore issues about knowing the transcendent good and doing good, exemplified in the delicate balance between divine command and human virtuousness. Early Protestant theological views prove to be excellent interlocutors for this reflection. Finally, Part III focuses on how transcendence is at stake in two heavily debated moral issues of today: euthanasia and the family. The Transcendent Character of the Good will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in theological ethics, moral philosophy, and the history of ethics.
The rise of modern science created a crisis for Western moral and political philosophy, which had theretofore relied either on Christian theology or Aristotelian natural teleology as guarantors of an objective standard for &"the good life.&" This book examines Rousseau's effort to show how and why, despite this challenge from science (which he himself intensified by equating our subhuman origins with our natural state), nature can remain a standard for human behavior. While recognizing an original goodness in human being in the state of nature, Rousseau knew this to be too low a standard and promoted the idea of &"the natural man living in the state of society,&" notably in Emile. Laurence Cooper shows how, for Rousseau, conscience&—understood as the &"love of order&"&—functions as the agent whereby simple savage sentiment is sublimated into a more refined &"civilized naturalness&" to which all people can aspire.