Does natural law have non-normative foundations?

Sophia 41 (1):1-17 (2002)
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Abstract

This paper addresses one aspect of the natural law theory of Germain Grisez. According to Grisez, practical reason identifies the goods of human life prior to the invocation of any moral or normative notions. It can thus provide a non-normative foundation for moral theory. I present Grisez’s position and argue that the apparently non-normative aspect of natural law cannot support the moral position built upon it. I argue, in particular, that practical principles, as Grisez understands them, are best understood as speech acts. If this is correct, it is possible to develop a sceptical challenge to Grisez’s position

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Ian Gold
McGill University

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