The Foundations Of Natural Morality: On The Compatibility Of Natural Rights And The Natural Law

Paperback | July 11, 2016

byS. Adam Seagrave

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Recent years have seen a renaissance of interest in the relationship between natural law and natural rights. During this time, the concept of natural rights has served as a conceptual lightning rod, either strengthening or severing the bond between traditional natural law and contemporary human rights. Does the concept of natural rights have the natural law as its foundation or are the two ideas, as Leo Strauss argued, profoundly incompatible?

With The Foundations of Natural Morality, S. Adam Seagrave addresses this controversy, offering an entirely new account of natural morality that compellingly unites the concepts of natural law and natural rights. Seagrave agrees with Strauss that the idea of natural rights is distinctly modern and does not derive from traditional natural law. Despite their historical distinctness, however, he argues that the two ideas are profoundly compatible and that the thought of John Locke and Thomas Aquinas provides the key to reconciling the two sides of this long-standing debate. In doing so, he lays out a coherent concept of natural morality that brings together thinkers from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes and Locke, revealing the insights contained within these disparate accounts as well as their incompleteness when considered in isolation. Finally, he turns to an examination of contemporary issues, including health care, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty, showing how this new account of morality can open up a more fruitful debate.

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Recent years have seen a renaissance of interest in the relationship between natural law and natural rights. During this time, the concept of natural rights has served as a conceptual lightning rod, either strengthening or severing the bond between traditional natural law and contemporary human rights. Does the concept of natural right...

S. Adam Seagrave is assistant professor of political science at Northern Illinois University. He lives in DeKalb, IL.

other books by S. Adam Seagrave

Liberty and Equality: The American Conversation
Liberty and Equality: The American Conversation

Kobo ebook|Oct 9 2015

$26.59 online$33.24list price(save 20%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:184 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:July 11, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638067X

ISBN - 13:9780226380674

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1: Locke on Natural Rights and the Natural Law
Chapter 2: Self-Consciousness, Self-Ownership, and Natural Rights
Chapter 3: From Natural Rights to the Natural Law
Chapter 4: Natural Morality
Chapter 5: Practical Applications
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“The Foundations of Natural Morality is an extraordinarily ambitious work. Seagrave’s book takes up a question that is coeval with political philosophy: Are some things moral by nature, and if yes, how so? . . . Entering a debate that has roiled since the beginning of modernity, Seagrave focuses on the essential relationship of ancient and medieval natural law theorizing and modern natural rights doctrines. . . . His arguments raise hosts of fundamental political, philosophical, and, in some cases, theological questions we are likely to gloss over precisely because they are fundamental or first questions. . . . There is a good deal to admire about [this] book.”