Reason, Morality, and Law: The Philosophy of John Finnis

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9780198738107: Reason, Morality, and Law: The Philosophy of John Finnis

John Finnis is a pioneer in the development of a new yet classically-grounded theory of natural law. His work offers a systematic philosophy of practical reasoning and moral choosing that addresses the great questions of the rational foundations of ethical judgments, the identification of moral norms, human agency, and the freedom of the will, personal identity, the common good, the role and functions of law, the meaning of justice, and the relationship of morality and politics to religion and the life of faith. The core of Finnis' theory, articulated in his seminal work Natural Law and Natural Rights, has profoundly influenced later work in the philosophy of law and moral and political philosophy, while his contributions to the ethical debates surrounding nuclear deterrence, abortion, euthanasia, sexual morality, and religious freedom have powerfully demonstrated the practical implications of his natural law theory.

This volume, which gathers eminent moral, legal, and political philosophers, and theologians to engage with John Finnis' work, offers the first sustained, critical study of Finnis' contribution across the range of disciplines in which rational and morally upright choosing is a central concern. It includes a substantial response from Finnis himself, in which he comments on each of their 27 essays and defends and develops his ideas and arguments.

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About the Author:

John Keown, Rose kennedy Professor, Kennedy Institute Of Ethics, Georgetown University,Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

John Keown DLC holds the Rose Kennedy Chair in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, one of the world's premier centres of research into ethics. Having graduated in law from Cambridge he took a doctorate at Oxford and was then called to the Bar of England and Wales. Before being elected to the Rose Kennedy Chair he taught the law and ethics of medicine in the Faculty of Law at Cambridge, where he was a Fellow of Queens' College and of Churchill College. Professor Keown has written widely in the field of the law and ethics of medicine. His research has been cited by distinguished bodies worldwide, including the United States Supreme Court, the Law Lords, the Court of Appeal, the House of Commons, the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, and the Australian Senate, one of several bodies before which he has been invited to testify. He has served as a member of the ethics committee of the British Medical Association.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. He holds a D.Phil from Oxford, where he studied under John Finnis and Joseph Raz. He is the author of numerous books, including Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, and In Defence of Natural Law.


"Reason, Morality and Law reminds us of how far-ranging Finnis's intellectual endeavours have been, not just in legal, moral, political, literary, and theological disputes, but also in the less abstract contributions of work at the Bar and political advice to Parliament. There is great value to reading Finnis's views on the many subjects covered in this book, certainly for those whose sympathies on these issues are similar to Finnis's, but perhaps even more so for those of us who may be inclined to disagree sharply." - Brian H. Bix, University of Minnesota School of Law, MIND

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