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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(228mm x 152mm x 27mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Nicholas Bamforth
David A. J. Richards is Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He received his AB from Harvard College in 1966, his D. Phil. in moral philosophy from Oxford University in 1971, and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1971. His Oxford Doctoral dissertation was published by Oxford University Press in 1971 as A Theory of Reasons for Action, and he has published an additional 12 books, including Sex, Drugs, Death, and the Law: An Essay on Human Rights and Overcriminalization (Rowan and Littlefield, 1982) which was named the best book in criminal justice ethics by the John Jay College of Criminal Ethics in 1982. Choice Magazine named his book Foundations of American Constitutionalism (Oxford) one of the best academic books of the year in 1989. He has served as vice-president of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy and was the Shikes lecturer in civil liberties at the Harvard Law School in 1998.