The so-called new natural law theory  or (sometimes) the “Grisez-Finnis theory” is a late-twentieth-century intellectual development, though it has antecedents in the thought of mid-twentieth-century philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe. New natural law theory is closely associated with the thought and writings of the American Catholic theologian German Grisez and the Oxford legal philosopher John M. Finnis, as well as figures such as Robert P. George, Joseph M. Boyle Jr., and William E. May.

New natural law theory holds that practical principles (including moral norms) are rational principles whose directiveness is independent of human feelings. New natural law theory maintains that the most basic practical principles stipulate actions that people have reasons to perform precisely because they are opportunities for people to realize for themselves (and often others) benefits whose rational value cannot be reduced to purely instrumental purposes. Under the new natural law account of practical reasoning, a variety of factors figure in the genesis of acts performed by people for noninstrumental reasons. These include acts of the will, which new natural law theorists typically understand in Aquinas’s sense of man’s rational appetite.

New natural law theory brought in its wake a renewed philosophical interest in theories of natural law. This was especially true following the publication of John Finnis’s Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980). On one level, this book revitalized reflection on natural law within the Roman Catholic Church, where it had been somewhat neglected following the Second Vatican Council. (Adapted from article by Samual Gregg in http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=262)

Speaker: Dr Jude Chua

Jude Chua Soo Meng PhD FRHistS FCollT is Associate Professor of philosophy and Head of Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Ground, the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  He was previously Asst Dean for Higher Degrees by Research at the graduate programmes office.  For many years he was the programme leader for the Dual Award EdD, offered by the Institute of Education (IOE) London and NIE, Singapore. He has held visiting appointments at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University (UK), the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame (USA), University of Navarra (Spain) and the Institute of Education (IOE), University College London.  He won the Novak Award (Acton Institute) in 2003 and is an associate editor for the Journal of Markets and Morality. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the College of Teachers. His work has appeared recently in The Routledge Companion to Design Research and the Springer Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management.

Venue: Catholic Centre, 55 Waterloo St, #02-01, Singapore 187954

Date / Time: 21 July 2018 Saturday / 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm

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