An Introduction to Ethics

Author: Brian Besong
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
ISBN: 1498298907
Format: PDF, Mobi
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It is natural for us to wonder what should I do, and why? And although a combination of common sense and upbringing aids us in answering our questions, it is also natural for us to seek answers that are grounded in something deeper and more enduring than our personal dispositions and those of our parents. We seek a genuinely good life and the practical wisdom necessary to arrive at happiness. In this Introduction to Ethics, Brian Besong presents a comprehensive and contemporary introduction to the practical wisdom handed down to us by Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many others—a position now commonly called “natural law.” Written as a beginner’s guide, the book systematically explores a range of moral issues including moral knowledge, happiness, right and wrong action, and virtues, to name a few. Introduction to Ethics explains in a lively way how natural law provides principled and persuasive answers to our most fundamental moral questions.

Natural Law and Natural Rights

Author: John Finnis
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191021547
Format: PDF, ePub
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First published in 1980, Natural Law and Natural Rights is widely heralded as a seminal contribution to the philosophy of law, and an authoritative restatement of natural law doctrine. It has offered generations of students and other readers a thorough grounding in the central issues of legal, moral, and political philosophy from Finnis's distinctive perspective. This new edition includes a substantial postscript by the author, in which he responds to thirty years of discussion, criticism and further work in the field to develop and refine the original theory. The book closely integrates the philosophy of law with ethics, social theory and political philosophy. The author develops a sustained and substantive argument; it is not a review of other people's arguments but makes frequent illustrative and critical reference to classical, modern, and contemporary writers in ethics, social and political theory, and jurisprudence. The preliminary First Part reviews a century of analytical jurisprudence to illustrate the dependence of every descriptive social science upon evaluations by the theorist. A fully critical basis for such evaluations is a theory of natural law. Standard contemporary objections to natural law theory are reviewed and shown to rest on serious misunderstandings. The Second Part develops in ten carefully structured chapters an account of: basic human goods and basic requirements of practical reasonableness, community and 'the common good'; justice; the logical structure of rights-talk; the bases of human rights, their specification and their limits; authority, and the formation of authoritative rules by non-authoritative persons and procedures; law, the Rule of Law, and the derivation of laws from the principles of practical reasonableness; the complex relation between legal and moral obligation; and the practical and theoretical problems created by unjust laws. A final Part develops a vigorous argument about the relation between 'natural law', 'natural theology' and 'revelation' - between moral concern and other ultimate questions.

Natural Law and Justice

Author: Lloyd L. Weinreb
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674604261
Format: PDF, Docs
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"Human beings are a part of nature and apart from it." The argument of Natural Law and Justice is that the philosophy of natural law and contemporary theories about the nature of justice are both efforts to make sense of the fundamental paradox of human experience: individual freedom and responsibility in a causally determined universe. Professor Weinreb restores the original understanding of natural law as a philosophy about the place of humankind in nature. He traces the natural law tradition from its origins in Greek speculation through its classic Christian statement by Thomas Aquinas. He goes on to show how the social contract theorists adapted the idea of natural law to provide for political obligation in civil society and how the idea was transformed in Kant's account of human freedom. He brings the historical narrative down to the present with a discussion of the contemporary debate between natural law and legal positivism, including particularly the natural law theories of Finnis, Richards, and Dworkin. Professor Weinreb then adopts the approach of modern political philosophy to develop the idea of justice as a union of the distinct ideas of desert and entitlement. He shows liberty and equality to be the political analogues of desert and entitlement and both pairs to be the normative equivalents of freedom and cause. In this part of the book, Weinreb considers the theories of justice of Rawls and Nozick as well as the communitarian theory of Maclntyre and Sandel. The conclusion brings the debates about natural law and justice together, as parallel efforts to understand the human condition. This original contribution to legal philosophy will be especially appreciated by scholars, teachers, and students in the fields of political philosophy, legal philosophy, and the law generally.

On Temporal and Spiritual Authority

Author: Saint Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780865977167
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Robert Bellarmine was one of the most original and influential political theorists of his time. He participated in several of the political debates that agitated early modern Europe, such as the controversy over the Oath of Allegiance in England. Bellarmine presents one of the clearest and most coherent definitions of the nature and aim of temporal authority and its relationship to spiritual authority. The king has jurisdiction over the body, the pope over the conscience. This distinction was crucial for the history of early modern monarchies: the conflict between state and church ceased to be concerned with physical persons and was no longer a contest for the consciences of subjects. The political thought of Bellarmine was at the center of post-Reformation debates on the relationship between state and church; on the nature, aim, and limits of temporal government; and on the relation between religion and natural law. He posed in a novel, controversial manner the relationship between public and private spheres, thus opening up questions central to what we consider "modernity.” This accessible edition of some of Bellarmine’s most important works in fresh translations will be interesting for a wide readership of both scholars of political thought and the educated general public. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) was a Jesuit cardinal and a celebrated professor of theology at the Roman College, of which he became rector in 1592. He was also a highly ranked member of the Inquisition and of the Congregation of the Index, as well as Pope Clement VIII’s main advisor in theological matters. However, Bellarmine’s work risked being included in the Index of Prohibited Books for insufficient support of papal authority. At the same time, he was considered a major enemy of the absolute authority of sovereigns, such as James I of England. Stefania Tutino is an Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara. Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.