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What role does reason play in determining what, if anything, is morally right? What role does morality play in law? Perhaps the most controversial answer to these fundamental questions is that reason supports a supreme principle of both morality and legality. The contributors to this book cast a fresh critical eye over the coherence of modern approaches to ethical rationalism within law, and reflect on the intellectual history on which it builds. The contributors then take the debate beyond the traditional concerns of legal theory into areas such as the relationship between morality and international law, and the impact of ethically controversial medical innovations on legal understanding.
Our age is characterized by radical subjectivism. Which is to say: There is no agreement on any absolute standard of value. Indeed, there is no agreement even on truth itself. And as a matter of fact, the very concept of objective, absolute truth has been cast aside in favor of “truths” – your truth, my truth, whoever’s truth. The result is the abandonment of the pursuit of truth at all, in favor of convictions, emotional appeals in favor of those convictions, and the pursuit of political power to put those convictions in practice. This state of affairs will come as no surprise to those, like Friedrich Julius Stahl, who track the way people think, who know that ideas have consequences and that thought eventually feeds into practice. This is especially the case with legal philosophy. Here is where theory and practice confront each other, where the rubber meets the road. And the history of legal philosophy is the history of ideas having consequences. This history can tell us a great deal about how we arrived at the current state of affairs. When we look at it, we find that the key player in this history is natural law. Once the mainstay of ethical and legal discourse, it is now a forgotten relic. But natural law paved the way for the triumph of subjectivism in the modern world. A strange thing, considering that natural law was supposed to embody an objective standard for judging man-made law. It ended up eliminating that standard. How this came about is the burden of The Rise and Fall of Natural Law. Natural law was born of the Greeks and Romans, adopted by the Christian church, and converted into the bulwark of Christian ethical and legal science. But along the way it became disengaged from the church; and when it did, it played a central role in secularizing Western civilization. Stahl follows this career, from its start in classical antiquity, through to its incorporation in the scholasticism of the Middle Ages, to its secularized versions in the Enlightenment, and culminating in the philosophy of Rousseau and the hard reality of the French Revolution. The subjectivist turn is especially emphasized in the work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, whose focus on enthusiastic conviction and the primacy of the subject makes him the prophet of the modern world. Although Fichte wrote at the turn of the 19th century, it is in our day that his orientation has triumphed. His story, and the stories of those leading up to him – the leading characters in “the Rise and Fall of Natural Law” – are crucial to understanding the genesis of the modern world.
Critical Rationalism and Globalization addresses how the access to critical reason enables people to shape a new social order on a global scale. This book demonstrates how the philosophy of critical rationalism contributes to the sociology of Globalization, through uncovering the role of critical reason in arriving at an agreement on common values and institutions on a global scale. It discusses how value consensus on the institutions of sovereignty and inter–state law has prepared the ground for the rise of a global system of national societies after the end of World War II. Masoud Alamuti argues that uneven openness of national economies to global trade and investment should be comprehended in the framework of the post–war legal and political context. Using the concept of rationality as openness to criticism, the book proposes a normative theory of open global society in order to show that the existing value consensus on the cult of sovereignty suffers from the recognition of the possibility of rational dialogue among competing ways of the good life. Masoud Alamuti argues that once the people of the world, across national communities, open their fundamental ways of the good life to mutual criticism, they can create common global values necessary for the rise of a just social order on a global scale. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Globalization Studies, Global Sociology and International Relations.
Are human beings by nature good, evil, or are we born as a blank slate? How does the philosophy of human nature impact social and political development? This is a classical philosophical question explored by the early Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle and continues to be a relevant question of today. Essays on Ethics, Governance, and Economy also explores the philosophical debate on morality, efficient forms of governance, our modern day liberal democracy and its view on human nature, and the debate between the free-market and command economies. This book is made accessible to college students studying philosophy, politics, psychology, economics, sociology, and for anyone interested in these philosophical topics.
Thirty years ago, English jurist Patrick Devlin wrote: "Is it not a pleasant tribute to the medical profession that by and large it has been able to manage its relations with its patients ... without the aid of lawyers and law makers". Medical interventions at the beginnings and the endings of life have rendered that assessment dated if not defeated. This book picks up some of the most important of those developments and reflects on the legal and social consequences of this metamorphosis over the past ten years, and will be of interest to students of law, sociology and ethics who want a considered and critical introduction to, and reflection on, key issues in these pivotal moments of human life.
In his new introduction to this current edition of this classic in the field originally published in 1982, Hoppe (economics, U. of Nevada, Las Vegas--as was the late author) extols Rothbard's marriage of the "value-free" science of economics with the normative enterprise of ethics and their offspring: libertarianism. Discussion areas are: natural law, a theory of liberty, the state vs. liberty, modern alternative theories of liberty, and toward a theory of strategy for liberty.
In this comprehensive anthology, twenty-seven outstanding scholars from North America and Europe address every major aspect of Thomas Aquinas's understanding of morality and comment on his remarkable legacy. While there has been a revival of interest in recent years in the ethics of St. Thomas, no single work has yet fully examined the basic moral arguments and content of Aquinas' major moral work, the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae. This work fills that lacuna. The first chapters of The Ethics of Aquinas introduce readers to the sources, methods, and major themes of Aquinas's ethics. The second part of the book provides an extended discussion of ideas in the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae, in which contributors present cogent interpretations of the structure, major arguments, and themes of each of the treatises. The third and final part examines aspects of Thomistic ethics in the twentieth century and beyond. These essays reflect a diverse group of scholars representing a variety of intellectual perspectives. Contributors span numerous fields of study, including intellectual history, medieval studies, moral philosophy, religious ethics, and moral theology. This remarkable variety underscores how interpretations of Thomas's ethics continue to develop and evolve--and stimulate fervent discussion within the academy and the church. This volume is aimed at scholars, students, clergy, and all those who continue to find Aquinas a rich source of moral insight.

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