Friday, September 19, 2008

New Natural Law Anthology Reviewed

MercatorNet today features a review of Contemporary Perspectives on Natural Law: Natural Law as a Limiting Concept, an anthology edited by Ana Marta Gonzalez. An extended quote from the review follows.

Natural law starts by assuming there is such a thing as human nature. This
insistence on a human nature is a limiting concept. It claims that true freedom
is only to be found in acceptance and respect of this human nature that we have
inherited, not created.

A recent book on the topic of natural law, which is a compilation of
papers from an international conference held in Spain in 2006, makes this point
clear. If you accept natural law, you accept that human nature exists and that
it is the same for all humans. This in turn implies that some actions that human
beings can perform are not good for them. It further implies that freedom is not
the goal of human existence but rather a faculty of choice which allows us to do
good actions and thus to flourish as human beings.

Contemporary Perspectives on Natural Law: Natural Law as a Limiting
is a useful addition to contemporary debate, given that, despite its
pariah status in some universities, natural law ethics is still one of the great
traditions of ethical thinking and is given some time in most ethics courses,
even if this amounts to a dismissive nod.

Read the whole review here. Click the title of the book, above, for its listing on Amazon.


Joe said...

A very good review of a work that looks promising. I've read a good bit of John Finnis and I have to say that his thinking is first rate.

earlcapps said...

Natural law is the driving principle behind the famous line "We hold these truths to be self-evident ... ".

If you consider that natural rights puts the individual above government, and establishes that freedom is a natural and just condition of existence, then the concept of natural law does not limit us at all. Indeed, it liberates us.