Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Critiques of the New Natural Law Theory"

The most recent issue of the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly (Spring 2013) is devoted to critiques of the new natural law theory (NNLT). The issue contains articles by Father Kevin Flannery SJ, Steven Long, and John Goyette and shorter essays by Fulvio Di Blasi, Matthew O'Brien, Michael Pakaluk, and Edward Feser. Many of the pieces focus on the NNLT's understanding of intention, an issue that has been featured in earlier discussions on Mirror of Justice of issues such as craniotomy and the treatment of ectopic pregnancies.  

Richard M.


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I'm thankful to NCBQ for putting together a fine group of scholars to discuss the problems and limitations of NNLT. WIth that said, however, I find the editorial decision not to include (or even invite) a response by a NNLT thinker most unbecoming of a scholarly journal, especially one as fine as NCBQ.

It would be one thing if a response couldn't be submitted in time for publication, but Steven A. Long tells us in his introduction to the volume, with nary an explanation, that it was "intentional" that "[o]nly opponents of NNLT appear."

That is worse than unfortunate, and it besmirches the credibility of the publication as a whole. No matter what school of natural law thought one ascribes to, we can all agree on the Golden Rule. As applied here, I would think that entails the right of a response.

I have the greatest admiration for the authors in this volume, for the NCBQ, and for the works of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, but this is not exactly Catholic scholarship at its finest.

Posted by: S. Blakeman | Aug 6, 2013 11:29:52 AM