Five Questions for John Finnis

Jonathan Crowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


[Extract] John Finnis’s seminal defence of natural law theory, Natural Law and Natural Rights, has attracted significant commentary since it was first published in 1980. Earlier this year, a revised edition was published, including a new postscript responding to critics. A five volume collection of Finnis’s essays, spanning topics in ethics, political philosophy, jurisprudence and theology, has also recently been released.

It is timely, then, to reflect upon Finnis’s contribution to natural law thought. What is the current status of Natural Law and Natural Rights within natural law scholarship? What issues have been raised concerning Finnis’s theory and which of these remain unanswered? What are the central issues confronting natural law theories today?

This article outlines five pressing questions facing Finnis’s version of natural law. They span a range of topics in ethics, politics and jurisprudence, including the ethical status of animals, the so-called ‘marital good’, the global implications of the common good, the role of legal authority and the natural law view of law. Many of these issues hold significance not only for Finnis’s theory, but for natural law more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw as it is, and law as it ought to be
EditorsWilliam Isdale, Sam Hooshmand
Place of PublicationSt Lucia
PublisherJustice and the Law Society, University of Queensland
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePandora's Box
ISSN (Print)1835-8624


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