Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 90, 2016

Justice: Then and Now

Charles D. Robertson
Pages 163-173

Is Marriage a Basic Good?

According to the New Natural Law theory, marriage is a basic good. This means that marital society is an end in itself, and that marital intercourse instantiates that end by making the married couple to be “one-flesh.” This one-flesh union finds its intrinsic fulfillment in the procreation of children, but should not be seen as a mere means to the begetting and rearing of offspring. This view of marriage represents a departure from the traditional understanding of marriage as having its ultimate raison d’être in the begetting and rearing of offspring, and has significant implications for judgments concerning the liceity of embryo adoption/rescue. This paper offers a critical appraisal of the thesis that marriage is a basic good.