Chapter

The Finnis Reconstruction

Anthony J. Lisska

in Aquinas’s Theory of Natural Law

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9780198269670
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269670.003.0006
The Finnis Reconstruction

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This chapter examines philosopher John Finnis' attempted reconstruction of natural law moral theory. It suggests that Finnis has undercut the functional view of Aristotelian ethics by suggesting that the metaphysical support normally used to interpret natural law theories of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas is misguided. In his Natural Law and Natural Rights and Fundamentals of Ethics, Finnis has proposed a view of natural law ethics that denies the importance of the functional view of essence as a necessary condition for explaining natural law theory.

Keywords: John Finnis; natural law; moral theory; Aristotelian ethics; Thomas Aquinas; Natural Law and Natural Rights; Fundamentals of Ethics

Chapter.  10213 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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