Monday, April 14, 2008

Two Vey Brief Notes

(I.) Is this right--the Roman Catholic Church should be taken to teach that slavery is not unjust according to, and is consistent with, the natural law? That seems to be the gist of "Development or Reversal?” by Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. in First Things' October '05 issue.

(II.) Given that this blog has been rather critical of +Radner's recent efforts to help formulate an Anglican covenant here and here (and see this on Seitz), it may be of interest to see how +Radner replies to my criticism, here.


At 4:56 PM, Blogger Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

On point one, Yes; and that has always been one of my criticisms of "Natural Law" -- not in theory, but in practice, in which it often functions more as cultural law. The tradition, though it did bear some good fruit, also led to doctrines of justifiable enslavement, just war theory, stern opposition to birth control even for health reasons, etc.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Yeah, natural Law theory as a wax nose, always too ready to serve any agenda. It seems the general form of a natural law argument might go:

(1) X is a basic good.
(2) Y precludes the enjoyment of X.
(3) Therefore, Y is forbidden.

(2) looks empirical--the question might be: What controls keep (1) from reiterating mere convention or nomos?

One person might take X to be "sexual reproduction in marriage" or something like that, and another might take X to be "sexual intimacy in an exclusive, committed relationship," and these could easily lead to contradictory results.

Any version of the theory without a narrow gate of some sort sufficient to strain out mere nomos is a non-starter, DOA.


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