American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 90, Issue 2, Spring 2016

Elizabeth Anscombe

John Finnis
Pages 347-368

On Anscombe’s “Royal Road” to True Belief 

This essay draws upon observations made by Elizabeth Anscombe regarding, respectively, the mutual need of scientific theory and philosophical analysis, the manner in which human rationality may show itself as a principle of bodily action, and the fulfilment in the New Testament of the central promise of Hebrew scripture. It examines something of the nature of material organization and the incorporation and subsumption of that into living systems, among which emerges the human, rational form of life. Noting the distinctness of the human soul as a principle of thought, reflection, and free choice, certain aspects of scripture are identified and explored to suggest what Anscombe may, or might well, have had in mind in speaking of a “royal road.”