Reason, Morality, and Law

The Philosophy of John Finnis

by John Keown DCL, Robert P. George

John Finnis is a pioneer in the development of a new yet classically-grounded theory of natural law. His work offers a systematic philosophy of practical reasoning and moral choosing that addresses the great questions of the rational foundations of ethical judgments, the identification of moral norms, human agency, and the freedom of the will, personal identity, the common good, the role and functions of law, the meaning of justice, and the relationship of moralityand politics to religion and the life of faith. The core of Finnis' theory, articulated in his seminal work Natural Law and Natural Rights, has profoundly influenced later work in the philosophy of law and moral and political philosophy, while his contributions to the ethical debates surroundingnuclear deterrence, abortion, euthanasia, sexual morality, and religious freedom have powerfully demonstrated the practical implications of his natural law theory.This volume, which gathers eminent moral, legal, and political philosophers, and theologians to engage with John Finnis' work, offers the first sustained, critical study of Finnis' contribution across the range of disciplines in which rational and morally upright choosing is a central concern. It includes a substantial response from Finnis himself, in which he comments on each of their 27 essays and defends and develops his ideas and arguments.

  • OUP Oxford; March 2013
  • ISBN: 9780191665516
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Reason, Morality, and Law
  • Author: John Keown DCL (ed.); Robert P. George (ed.)
  • Imprint: OUP Oxford

In The Press

This is no ordinary Festschrift. Comprising twenty-eight contributions and one hundred and twenty-five pages of detailed responses from Finnis,... Reason, Morality, and Law is a decidedly weighty tome. And if we include the publication in 2011 of the second edition of Natural Law and Natural Rights, and then in 2013 the five volumes of Finnis's collected essays, Finnis's position as the most important contemporary defender of the naturallaw tradition has now been powerfully, and deservedly, established for some years to come... Reason, Morality, and the Law is a superb achievement, and a fitting tribute to this most inestimable of men.


About The Author

John Keown DCL holds the Rose Kennedy Chair in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. Having graduated in law from Cambridge he completed a doctorate at Oxford, under the supervision of John Finnis. Before his election to the Kennedy Chair he taught medical law in the Faculty of Law at Cambridge, where he was a Fellow of Queens' College and of Churchill College. Professor Keown has written widely in the field of the law and ethics of medicine. Hisresearch has been cited by the Law Lords and by the US Supreme Court. His latest book is The Law and Ethics of Medicine (OUP, 2012).Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. He holds a D.Phil from Oxford, where he studied under John Finnis and Joseph Raz. He is the author of numerous books, including Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, and In Defence of Natural Law.