Religion and Public Reasons: Collected Essays: v. V

ISBN : 9780199580095

John Finnis
440 Pages
164 x 240 mm
Pub date
Apr 2011
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The essays in Religion and Public Reasons seek to argue for, and illustrate, a central element of John Finnis's theory of natural law: that the main tenets of personal and political morality, and of a good legal order, are taught both by reason (arguments accessible to everyone) and by authentic divine revelation (teachings accessible to all who have a reasonable faith in its witnesses). The author's main books each include arguments for rejecting atheism and agnosticism; several papers here take up these arguments and indicate ways in which they open onto the reasonable grounds for accepting that more about God's nature, and about the meaning of Creation (including ongoing natural evolution), is disclosed by the revelation carried far forward among the Jewish people, and given definitive form by the Jews and Greeks who assembled in the universal Church, as witnesses of Christ, to carry forward that revelation into our present. Several papers argue that "public reason" properly includes such a religion, and that Humeian, Nietzschean, Deweyian, Rawlsian or other atheistical or deistic understandings of a reasonable secularism are badly mistaken. Many substantial papers record the author's position in controversies within Catholicism since the 1960s: on social justice, contraception and abortion; nuclear deterrence; Newman on conscience before pope; Maritain's hopes for a new Christendom and von Balthasar's for a hell empty of human persons; and on "proportionalism" and Lonerganian "historical consciousness" as moral-theological methods. Previously unpublished papers include several University and college sermons, and a substantial introduction.


1. Darwin, Dewey, Religion, and the Public Domain
2. Talking about God in a Pluralist Society
3. Secularism's Practical Meaning
4. Religion and State
5. Political Neutrality and Religious Arguments
6. Catholic Positions in Liberal Debates
7. The Significance of Questioning
8. Ethics and Revelation: A Fragment
9. Historical Consciousness and Theological Foundations
10. Faith, Morals, and Thomas More
11. On Creation and Ethics
12. St Cuthbert's Faith and the Bishop of Durham's Unbelief
13. Philosophy and God's Nature: Second Thoughts
14. This World and the Next
15. Three and One
16. Conscience in Newman's Letter to the Duke of Norfolk
17. Grace and Humility
18. Christianity and World Order
19. Morality and the Second Vatican Council
20. Nuclear Deterrence and the End of Christendom
21. The "Consistent Ethic of Life"
22. Secularism and "The Culture of Death"
23. On Retranslating Humanae Vitae
24. Hell and Hope
Biography of the Works of John Finnis

About the author: 

John Finnis is Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of University College. He is the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.

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