chapter  2
52 Pages

Recent Criticism of Natural Law Theory

WithRobert P. George

In this chapter, the author focuses on criticism of what, following Russell Hittinger's convention, the author refers to as 'the Grisez-Finnis natural law theory'. The author’s claims are that neither Lloyd Weinreb nor Flittinger represents the theory accurately or presents compelling arguments against it. This chapter describes Weinreb's general argument and criticizes his treatment of Aquinas's theory of natural law. According to Weinreb, the quaestio vexata of ancient and medieval natural law theory concerned human freedom in a causally determined universe. If Weinreb's arguments are telling, moral and political philosophy are doomed to frustration. The antinomy of freedom and cause that, according to Weinreb, eventually undid ontological theories of natural law reemerges to undo every modern alternative, whether they be deontological natural law theories or theories of justice. In Natural Law and Natural Rights, J. Finnis categorizes them as: life; knowledge; play; aesthetic experience; sociability; practical reasonableness; and 'religion'.