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1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Ryan T. Anderson In This Issue
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2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
William L. Saunders Washington Insider
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3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
E. Christian Brugger St. Thomas’s Natural Law Theory
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Fifty years of debate have strengthened Germain Grisez’s 1965 interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas’s famous article on the natural law in Summa theologiae I-II.94.2. Revisiting Grisez’s argument in light of these developments reveals that his “gerundive interpretation” of the first principle of practical reason is not only Thomistic, but essentially Aquinas’s interpretation.
4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Christopher Tollefsen Terminating in the Body: Concerning Some Errors of Action and Intention
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The New Natural Law (NNL) theory offers a distinctive account of the nature of intention and human action and, accordingly, of what aspects and consequences of a human agent’s performance should be considered outside the intention (praeter intentionem). In part, the distinctive features of the account follow from a methodological decision to consider human action from the perspective of the agent of that action, the first-person agential standpoint. This theory of action and intention has nevertheless been subject to considerable criticism. The view is held by many to be too first-personal and to provide inadequate “constraints” on what an agent intends when his performance will inevitably and foreseeably be accompanied or followed by states of affairs in which individuals are harmed.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Sherif Girgis The Wrongfulness of Any Intent to Kill
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Germain Grisez’s philosophical argument for respecting human life has been developed by fellow new natural law (NNL) theorists and applied to a range of lethal actions, for its conclusion is vast: intending the death of any human being as a means or an end is wrong in itself. For some Thomists, the NNL view on killing is both lax and rigorist: They consider it lax because its narrow criterion for what is “intended” leaves out some acts, especially ones related to abortion, that the critics consider murder. And they consider the NNL view rigorist insofar as it apparently rules out the death penalty, contrary to the Thomistic tradition and perhaps even heretically. However, the most salient philosophical arguments for exceptions to the principle against intending anyone’s death are weaker than the case for any given premise of the contrary NNL argument. Nevertheless, some NNL theorists’ arguments on life are unsound, some can be defended better than they have been, and some nonphilosophical objections based on theological authority require more exploration.
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6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Melissa Moschella Sexual Ethics, Human Nature, and the “New” and “Old” Natural Law Theories
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The major difference between “new” and “old” natural law approaches to sexual ethics is that for new natural law theorists the moral evaluation of sex acts is always determined with reference to that basic form of human flourishing which is called marriage; old natural law theorists determine the morality of sex acts also (or primarily) with reference to the natural purpose of the sexual faculties. Ultimately, the old approach relies implicitly on prior value judgments to distinguish biological facts that are axiologically or morally relevant from those that are not. It also appeals to values to ground the wrongness of immoral sex acts. In its pure form, the old natural law approach to sexual ethics lends itself to a misunderstanding of the unitive aspect of marriage. More broadly, an accurate understanding of new natural law does not run afoul of the correct interpretation of “nature” in natural law.
7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Patrick Lee God and New Natural Law Theory
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New natural law theory (NNLT) holds that the basic moral principles are prescriptions to pursue the goods to which our nature orients us. Since God is the author of our nature and intelligence, these moral principles are part of his plan for creation. These principles can be known prior to knowing that God exists and prior to knowing that they are in fact directives from him. Nevertheless, since God’s plan includes our active cooperation, morally good acts cooperate with God’s providence, and morally bad acts substitute one’s subjective preference for God’s truth. Thus natural law principles direct us to a unified ultimate end, namely, the fulfillment of God’s plan. Therefore God and our relationship with him have a central place in NNLT.
8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Daniel Mark New Natural Law Theory and the Common Good of the Political Community
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Some critics question new natural law theorists’ conception of the common good of the political community, namely, their interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas and the conclusion that the political common good is primarily instrumental rather than intrinsic and transcendent. Contrary to these objections, the common good of the political community is primarily instrumental. It aims chiefly at securing the conditions for human flourishing. Its unique ability to use the law to bring about justice and peace and promote virtue in individuals may make the common good of the political community critically important. Nevertheless, it is still not an intrinsic aspect of human flourishing. Unlike the family or a religious group, membership in a political community is not an end in itself.
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9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Stacy Trasancos Science
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10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Christopher Kaczor Philosophy and Theology
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