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    Acevedo, Alma 2012. Personalist Business Ethics and Humanistic Management: Insights from Jacques Maritain. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 105, Issue. 2, p. 197.

    Quintelier, Katinka Van Speybroeck, Linda and Braeckman, Johan 2011. Normative Ethics Does Not Need a Foundation: It Needs More Science. Acta Biotheoretica, Vol. 59, Issue. 1, p. 29.



  • Edward Feser (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2010

Classical natural law theory derives moral conclusions from the essentialist and teleological understanding of nature enshrined in classical metaphysics. The paper argues that this understanding of nature is as defensible today as it was in the days of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. It then shows how a natural law theory of the grounds and content of our moral obligations follows from this understanding of nature, and how a doctrine of natural rights follows in turn from the theory of natural law. With this background in place, the implications of the theory for questions about property rights and taxation are explored. It is argued that classical natural law theory entails the existence of a natural right of private property, and that this right is neither so strong as to support laissez faire libertarianism, nor so weak as to allow for socialism. Though the theory leaves much of the middle ground between these extremes open to empirical rather than moral evaluation, it is argued that there is a strong natural law presumption against social democratic policies and in favor of free enterprise.

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Christopher Martin , “The Fact/Value Distinction,” in David S. Oderberg and Timothy Chappell , eds., Human Values: New Essays on Ethics and Natural Law (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

Philippa Foot , Natural Goodness (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), chapter 2

David S. Oderberg , Real Essentialism (London: Routledge, 2007), chapter 9

J. Scott Turner , The Tinkerer's Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)

G. F. Schueler , Reasons and Purposes: Human Rationality and the Teleological Explanation of Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)

There Is No Such Thing as an Unjust Initial Acquisition,” Social Philosophy and Policy 22, no. 1 (2005): 5680

Eric Mack , “The Self-Ownership Proviso: A New and Improved Lockean Proviso,” Social Philosophy and Policy 12, no. 1 (1995): 186218, at 187

David Schmidtz , “The Institution of Property,” Social Philosophy and Policy 11, no. 2 (1994): 4262

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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