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Kent Greenawalt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756162.001.0001

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Natural Law and Public Reasons*

Natural Law and Public Reasons*

(p.83) Chapter 5 Natural Law and Public Reasons*
From the Bottom Up

Kent Greenawalt

Oxford University Press

“Natural Law and Public Reasons,” addresses the relation of natural law ethics to public reason, suggesting that some aspects of natural law theory fit more comfortably with modern views about public reason than do others. This illustrates the more general point that it is hard to draw a line between ways of thinking that do or don’t fit any accepted view of what should constitute a public reason. The debate over the status of stem cells shows how some natural law assertions are hard to divorce from religious convictions, a divorce that is asserted by leading modern natural law scholars. The essay resists the conclusion that the positive law of societies has nothing to do with public reason, rather concluding that most, but not at all, specific issues about the actual coverage of law can be resolved on the basis of a kind of public reasons the law itself provides.

Keywords:   Natural Law, Public Reason, Religious Conviction, Stem Cell Status, Teleology, Moral Judgments, Rational Deviations

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