Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality, and Gender: A Critique of New Natural Law

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Cambridge University Press, Dec 6, 2007 - Law
Legal theorists are familiar with John Finnis's book Natural Law and Natural Rights, but usually overlook his interventions in US constitutional debates and his membership of a group of conservative Catholic thinkers, the 'new natural lawyers', led by theologian Germain Grisez. In fact, Finnis has repeatedly advocated conservative positions concerning lesbian and gay rights, contraception and abortion, and his substantive moral theory (as he himself acknowledges) derives from Grisez. Bamforth and Richards provide a detailed explanation of the work of the new natural lawyers within and outside the Catholic Church - the first truly comprehensive explanation available to legal theorists - and criticize Grisez's and Finnis's arguments concerning sexuality and gender. New natural law is, they argue, a theology rather than a secular theory, and one which is unappealing in a modern constitutional democracy. This book will be of interest to legal and political theorists, ethicists, theologians and scholars of religious history.

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Excellent overview and analysis of the so-called 'basic goods theory' or New Natural Law theory of ethics that has, despite its pretensions, manufactured nothing productive in ethics other than an almost impenetrably abstruse web of sophistry and illusion. Bamforth and Richards slice through this jibberish with lucid critical reasoning, providing a refreshing break from the likes of Robert P. George and other long-winded defenders of this outdated and pre-modern concept of ethics. This book is long over-due! A very important contribution to the debate.  

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