Cover image for Morality and the human goods : an introduction to natural law ethics
Morality and the human goods : an introduction to natural law ethics
Gómez-Lobo, Alfonso, 1940-2011.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xvii, 142 pages ; 23 cm
A first principle -- Supplementary principles of practical rationality: basic human goods -- General comments on basic goods -- Prudential guidelines for the pursuit of basic goods -- Agents, actions, consequences -- Judging action: moral norms -- On abortion -- On euthanasia -- Epilogue: at the moral crossroads.
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BJ1012 .G645 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A concise and accessible introduction to natural law ethics, this book introduces readers to the mainstream tradition of Western moral philosophy. Building on philosophers from Plato through Aquinas to John Finnis, Alfonso G#65533;mez-Lobo links morality to the protection of basic human goods -- life, family, friendship, work and play, the experience of beauty, knowledge, and integrity -- elements essential to a flourishing, happy human life.

G#65533;mez-Lobo begins with a discussion of Plato's Crito as an introduction to the practice of moral philosophy, showing that it requires that its participants treat each other as equals and offer rational arguments to persuade each other. He then puts forth a general principle for practical rationality: one should pursue what is good and avoid what is bad. The human goods form the basis for moral norms that provide a standard by which actions can be evaluated: do they support or harm the human goods? He argues that moral norms should be understood as a system of rules whose rationale is the protection and enhancement of human goods. A moral norm that does not enjoin the preservation or enhancement of a specific good is unjustifiable. Shifting to a case study approach, G#65533;mez-Lobo applies these principles to a discussion of abortion and euthanasia. The book ends with a brief treatment of rival positions, including utilitarianism and libertarianism, and of conscience as our ultimate moral guide.

Written as an introductory text for students of ethics and natural law, Morality and the Human Goods makes arguments consistent with Catholic teaching but is not based on theological considerations. The work falls squarely within the field of philosophical ethics and will be of interest to readers of any background.

Author Notes

Alfonso Gomez-Lobo is Ryan Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Georgetown University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Gomez-Lobo (Georgetown University) offers a concise but dense introduction to "the mainstream tradition of moral philosophy in Western thought," which he traces especially to Aristotle and Aquinas. His nine meaty chapters provide a general account of practical reason; three discussions of basic human goods; and discussions of actions, consequences and moral norms, as well as abortion and euthanasia. He includes an appendix of explanations and sources and a useful index. Although it was planned as an introductory text and dedicated to students, this book is so clearly written and argued that it will be helpful to general readers, in addition to undergraduates. H. J. John emerita, Trinity College (DC)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Original Setting: Plato's Crito
1 A First Principle
2 Supplementary Principles of Practical Rationality: Basic Human Goods
3 General Comments on Basic Goods
4 Prudential Guidelines for the Pursuit of Basic Goods
5 Agents, Actions, Consequences
6 Judging Actions: Moral Norms
7 On Abortion
8 On Euthanasia
9 Epilogue: At the Moral Crossroads