Legislators and judges not only can but must gauge the moral justification of every law.
At times, cinema succeeds where philosophy fails. Films like Nebraska show us the importance of honoring our elderly parents and remind us of the unique dignity of every human person.
Edward Feser’s latest book gives readers who are familiar with analytic philosophy an excellent overview of scholastic metaphysics in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas.
Traditional religion, with its reliance on an authoritarian God, its understanding of humans as sinners, and its grounding in particular times and places, provides the only stable foundation for affirming the sanctity of human life and enabling human flourishing in new cosmic situations.
Workers must have the freedom to develop real expertise and to exercise this rational mastery in pursuit of good ends. Only in the pleasures of prudence can we truly realize those excellences of which human beings are capable.
It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God. Adapted from an address delivered August 6th at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium.
While Adam Seagrave offers a provocative and original reading of Locke, his assumptions about the self and ownership are deeply problematic.
Civility is due not to a person’s opinions, but to the person himself.
To achieve a moral ecology under which the dignity and solidarity of all peoples can thrive, we must take small steps, little by little—yet not lose sight of the goal.
The “why?” we ask of God receives its most persuasive answer in the beauty, the love, and the heroic devotion of human life.
The normalization of polygamy would undermine our commitment to human dignity—our sense that each human being is to be valued as an end in him- or herself, and not merely as a means to others’ ends.
Taking philosophy and theology as the foundation of our knowledge elevates and unifies scientific and humanistic inquiry.
Senator Rubio was on solid ground in saying science has settled the question of when a human being's life begins. Science does not need to wait on philosophy’s pronouncements to investigate what the human embryo is and when its life begins.
“Science” can tell us when life begins, provided that we already know what to look for. Empirical biology alone cannot tell us what that is. Once we establish a metaphysical account of life, then empirical embryology can tell us whether the relevant conditions are met.
Paradoxically, to speak intelligibly about the matters that concern them, contemporary intellectuals must appreciate the unintelligibility of the world in which those matters take place.
A low but predictable inflation rate is sound, just policy.
To view practical agreements between Aristotelian-Thomist foundationalists and contemporary anti-foundationalist liberals as “progress” is to fiddle while Rome burns.
When we make moral judgments, we implicitly and unavoidably acknowledge that there are objective standards of right and wrong to which we ought to conform our feelings and actions.
“Intention” and “choice” are complex concepts, but we must achieve clarity about them in order to protect human life and upright willing, as we should never choose to damage or destroy human life by intentionally killing a person.
It is ethically permissible to deliberately choose actions that lead to the death of an innocent person—but not to intend his or her death.
Steven Pinker understands the limits of scientific knowledge no better than the fundamentalist understands the limits of biblical knowledge.
If we want to move public discourse in the right direction, we should rely on the many assumptions we share with most of our contemporaries.
Our culture has become soft. We suppose that sex is too trivial to require virtue, yet we also believe it is so significant that to suggest any restraint upon its consensual exercise is an affront to the most important fount of human dignity.
Although Nigel Biggar’s new book on just war has many strengths, the author gets himself into a moral muddle over the question whether the deaths of innocent non-combatants can be deliberately chosen in war.
If a society regards governmental manipulation of money as the antidote to economic challenges, a type of poison will work its way through the body politic, undermining justice and the common good.
As a philosopher, Locke was both historically great and uniquely ambivalent. This combination provides extraordinarily fertile ground for uniting modern and pre-modern insights that seem opposed.
Our modern intellectual context is profoundly at odds with genuine Aristotelian-Thomism. If we want to infuse the public discourse with sound philosophy, we must soberly recognize the obstacles before us and confront them in the spirit of devotion to truth. The first of a two part series.
Christians have nothing to fear and everything to gain from good social science. It provides a way to talk normatively about human flourishing in terms that are intelligible, legitimate, and persuasive to those outside the community of faith.
Biology continues to offer us new and exciting insights into the world. These insights need to be integrated into a philosophical perspective that is richer than the reductive materialism that is often linked with the empirical sciences. In this endeavor, biology needs the philosophy of nature.
Both natural law thought and the Catechism agree: animals are not part of the same justice community as human beings, because they do not possess the dignity that comes from existing as a rational being.
Animals are not simply “a gift for human beings.” The needless cruelty inflicted on animals by factory farming not only violates a duty to provide them just treatment, but far outweighs the goods that humans gain by eating such meat.
Every child has a right to be loved by his or her biological parents. Third-party reproduction violates this right by intentionally conceiving a child in a way that will alienate that child from at least one of her biological parents.
Thomas Paine’s rationalistic emphasis on freedom, equality, and rights form the basis of our political discourse. Even so, Edmund Burke has something essential to teach us: the way we order our society will always be the consequence, first and foremost, of the way we love.
If we looked at actual young men and women, and not abstractions, we might begin to think of other things besides the ratio of members of each sex participating in this or that activity. We might think about love.
We are all called to defend marriage so that the truth can change hearts, minds, and lives. As the early pro-life activists did, we must invest the long-term political, legal, cultural, and spiritual capital to win down the line. The final installment in a three-part series.
The next generation of true culture-makers will be shaped purely by bad philosophy if its arguments go unanswered. As individuals and communities, we will be swayed by moral thought no matter what: the only question is whether it will be well thought out. The second in a three-part series.
Many Christians question the value of philosophical arguments for conjugal marriage, preferring to appeal to revelation. But our natural moral knowledge in some ways precedes revelation and helps us to understand it. The first of a three-part series.
Contrary to the judgment of the Supreme Court, abortion is not a private issue. It snuffs out the existence of a member of the human community—a person like us with a radical capacity for reason and freedom.
The morality of the market, important as it is in a free society, is not the only kind of morality that matters in common life.
The embrace of a materialist and mechanistic view of the world, taking its inspiration from the rise of modern science, results in a loss of the sense of transcendence. But God is not simply some finite object in a universe of other objects—he is reason, being, and order itself.
Kevin Doyle’s review of Robert George's new book is based on a fundamental error. Conscience, rightly understood, is not simply self-will. Rather, conscience identifies one’s duties under the moral law.
The French philosopher Montesquieu’s principle of moderation taught the founders to reconcile Lockean liberalism, classical republicanism, and Christianity—a balance we could use today.
Conservatives need to refine their understanding and presentation of the moral substance of their cause, crafting a message that appeals to both reason and imagination.
Just as an engineer can work out the purpose of a machine by examining its structure, reason can discover the proper end of human action by examining human nature. Yet there is also a supernatural morality that subsumes and exceeds natural moral standards.
We don’t need to know that God exists to know good from bad. It is enough to know human nature—what kind of being we are and what kind of actions will bring us to fullness of being.
We have the worst of both worlds: a Prohibitionary State that gives license to all kinds of evil, but that regulates and restricts actions that are not evil, to manage the chaos that results from the license.
Law cannot replace a nation’s customs, manners, and traditions. Rather, it should strengthen them by corroborating and invigorating the ways of a people.
David L. Tubbs’ criticism of pragmatic liberalism reveals that he misunderstands both the necessary complexity of constitutional law and its relation to civil society.
We can only define ourselves authentically in terms of, in Charles Taylor’s words, a “backdrop of things that matter”—a set of values that transcend our arbitrary choices. The second of a two-part series.
Our current jargon of “authenticity” is an affront to political friendship—it demands that others always capitulate to our claims, and makes not doing so tantamount to harm. The first of a two-part series.