Natural Law and Moral Inquiry: Ethics, Metaphysics, and Politics in the Thought of Germain Grisez

Published Date: March 1, 1998 | Topics: Natural Law

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Germain Grisez has been a leading voice in moral philosophy and theology since the Second Vatican Council. In this book, such major thinkers as John Finnis, Ralph McInerny, and William E. May consider issues in ethics, metaphysics, and politics that have been central to Grisez’s work.

Grisez’s reconsideration of the philosophical foundations of Christian moral teaching, seeking to eliminate both legalistic interpretation and theological dissent, has won the support of a number of leading Catholic moralists. In the past decade, moreover, many philosophers outside of Catholicism have weighed carefully Grisez’s alternatives to theories that have long dominated secular moral philosophy.

This book presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints on subjects ranging from contraception to capital punishment and considers such controversies as the scriptural basis of Grisez’s work his interpretations of Aquinas, and his new natural law theory. The collection includes not only contributions from Grisez’s supporters but also from critics of his thought, from proportionalist Edward Collins Vacek, SJ, to the neo-Thomist Ralph McInerny. A reply by Grisez, written with Joseph M. Boyle Jr., addresses the issues and viewpoints expressed, while an afterword by Russell Shaw reviews Grisez’s pioneering work and conveys a vivid sense of the philosopher’s personality.

As Grisez’s influence grows, this volume will serve as an important touchstone on his contributions to moral and political philosophy and theology.

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