President Abrama Lincoln in 1864; Pope Leo XIII in 1898 (Library of Congress) Though from starkly different backgrounds, the two men remain pillars of the natural-law tradition, under assault from both the Left and the Right. We live in an unusually anomalous culture whose politics and economics are now dominated by Nietzscheans of both the [...]
One upon a time, a great Italian published a work called the Siderius Nuncius. Galileo had seen the moons of Jupiter through his telescope. He had seen Venus moving. So, in 1606, he endorsed the ideas Copernicus had written down a half-century earlier in the De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. The earth moves around the sun, [...]
I was rightly called out by a believer the other day on Twitter – he asked me for my arguments against St. Thomas Aquinas’ proofs for god and I couldn’t direct him to any single post that addressed them. I mean, I’ve touched on each of these five arguments before but they were short paragraphs [...]
Harvard’s Museum of Natural History was an unlikely place for the Catholic intellectual showdown of the winter. For decades, Catholics have argued over the compatibility of their faith with liberalism, a plastic term that can include thinkers from Machiavelli and Locke to F.A. Hayek and John Rawls. As American society becomes more hostile to traditional [...]
Leo Strauss and the Pursuit of Knowledge: A Reply to Paul DeHart http://bit.ly/2BHpeup In a recent essay, Paul DeHart criticizes Leo Strauss’s conception of philosophy and the relationship between reason and revelation, by criticizing him on epistemological grounds. While Strauss never wrote a treatise on epistemology, DeHart nimbly reads between the lines to conclude that [...]
The crudest presumptions of natural law theory still inform our political and cultural conflicts. In recent posts, I've focused on the logical and moral contortions a focus on creator worship as the ground of our being requires of revealed religions. Alabama's Republican Party offers the most recent permutations of this bizarre fever dream. On Tuesday, [...]
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis, 1:28)
In 2007, Professor Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, delivered the John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy at Harvard Law School. George himself received his legal education at Harvard, and was there introduced to ideas about the relationship between law and morality, the study of which, as he happily tells us, became his life's vocation.
I wrote this essay several years ago, but am mindful of its relevance as we consider the Antonin Scalia legacy in the aftermath of his death, a task that remains especially vital as Donald Trump, nearly one year later, prepares to appoint Scalia's replacement.