Friday, April 20, 2012

Bruce and Van der Vossen on private property

I recently called attention to my essay “Natural Law, Natural Rights, and Private Property,” which appears on Liberty Fund’s Library of Law and Liberty website.   Prof. James Bruce and Prof. Bas Van der Vossen each kindly wrote a critical response to my essay.  (Their responses can be found here and here.)  They raise important questions, and in what follows I want to reply to their objections.  (Naturally it will be helpful if you first read the three original essays before moving on to what follows.)

Reply to Prof. Bruce

Prof. Bruce focuses on the centrality of the family to my account of property rights.  While he is correct to say that I put special emphasis on property’s indispensability to the well-being of the family, it seems to me that he overstates things a bit.  My essay also called attention to the ways in which property is crucial to the flourishing both of individuals and of society as a whole.  Even if one ignored the centrality of the family to the traditional natural law account of private property, then, there would still be grounds in natural law for a right to property.

In any event, Bruce thinks that my emphasis on the family leads to a conclusion that even I would have to grant is absurd.  As Bruce rightly notes, the natural law theorist regards family as something that is good for us given our nature.  In particular, I said in my original essay that given our nature, it is good for parents to provide for their children and good for children to respect and obey their parents.  But I am committed, Bruce seems to think, to the claim that “If something is good for us, we are obligated to do it.”  Hence if it is good for us given our nature to be parents, then it would follow that we are obligated to become parents.  And this is absurd.  For Catholic priests do no wrong in refraining from becoming parents, and neither do others who refrain from marrying and having families.

Naturally I agree that it is not wrong for Catholic priests and others not to marry and have families.  But contrary to Bruce’s suggestion, what I said in my original essay does not imply otherwise.  Bruce’s objection presupposes too simple a conception of specific human goods, and too simple an interpretation of the fundamental principle of natural law that good is to be pursued and evil avoided.  No natural law theorist would say that “If something is good for us, we are obligated to do it, period.”  Nor does their position entail that they should say it.  Human nature is complicated, and what is good for human beings is, accordingly, also complicated.  For one thing, human goods are ordered hierarchically.  The lower goods exist for the sake of the higher goods, and can (all things being equal) in principle be sacrificed for the sake of the higher ones.  For example, spiritual goods are higher than the goods that follow from our animal and social natures.  Hence there is nothing in principle wrong with someone’s sacrificing the goods of marriage and family life for the sake of the higher good of the priesthood or religious life.

Even someone who refrains from marrying for other, lesser reasons does not necessarily thereby do wrong.  Marriage and family are, after all, especially complex goods.  For one thing, they are goods that one cannot acquire easily or entirely on one’s own initiative.  One needs to find a suitable potential spouse (no small feat) and has to get the consent of that potential spouse (also often no small feat!)  One has to be sufficiently mature, prepared financially, and sufficiently free of other commitments.  One also has to be inclined to marry in the first place, and while most people are, some (for whatever reason) are not.  And while for natural law theory we are never permitted to do what is intrinsically wrong, we are permitted to refrain from pursuing some goods if pursuing them would under the circumstances lead to greater harm.  Marrying merely for the sake of marrying, even when one would strongly prefer not to, is obviously the sort of thing that can lead to great harm for all parties concerned.  Perhaps one’s reasons for not marrying are not good ones.  Or perhaps one’s childhood family life was so traumatic that one has been too scarred to find the prospect of a starting a family of one’s own attractive.  Natural law theory does not entail that one must, all the same, press on with marriage to the first willing partner one can get hold of!

Much more could be said about this issue, but my essay was not intended as a complete account of natural law in any case, much less a complete treatment of the ethics of marriage and family.  I was merely providing a sketch of the background ideas relevant to the specific topic of private property.  (I say more about natural law theory in general in chapter 5 of Aquinas and about property rights in particular in my 2010 Social Philosophy and Policy article “Classical Natural Law Theory, Property Rights, and Taxation.”)

Reply to Prof. Van der Vossen

Prof. Van der Vossen gives the impression that my account of the original appropriation or initial acquisition of property is grounded in a Lockean labor-mixing theory.  But that is not the case.  Indeed, I thought I had made it clear in my essay that it is not -- that original appropriation involves first occupation rather than labor-mixing.  To be sure, I allowed that labor-mixing plays a secondary role -- in strengthening the presumptive right to a previously unowned resource that is secured by first occupation -- but it is first occupation that is primary.  (I have discussed the objections to labor-mixing theories myself in, among other places, my 2005 Social Philosophy and Policy article “There Is No Such Thing as an Unjust Initial Acquisition.”  As I argue there, these objections are not as decisive as they are sometimes thought to be, though I would now qualify what I wrote there -- when I was still a libertarian -- in light of what I say in the 2010 Social Philosophy and Policy article.  Cf. also the discussion of private property in my book Locke.)

Still, there is less disagreement between Van der Vossen and myself than the reader of our articles might initially suppose.  Van der Vossen holds that in a sound defense of private property, the right way to proceed would be first to argue for the general institution of property, and then to develop a theory of how the initial appropriation of previously unowned resources should proceed -- rather than making a theory of appropriation primary and grounding the general institution of private property in it.  Though he is unsure, he implies that this is my own procedure, and he is correct.  In my own essay (and in my 2010 Social Philosophy and Policy article) I first argue on natural law grounds for the moral necessity of private property as a general institution, and then address the issue of initial appropriation.  

Unfortunately, though he rightly suspects that this is my view, he fails to take account of the fact when he criticizes what I say about appropriation.  In particular, he seems to think that I am attributing to acts of initial appropriation (whether understood in terms of first occupation or labor-mixing) a moral power all by themselves to generate a right to property.  But that is not what I claimed.  Acts of appropriation -- specifically, acts of first occupation -- generate property rights in specific resources only given the general background defense of property as an institution that (I agree with Van der Vossen) must be set out before the question of appropriation is addressed.  I do not claim that such acts have what Van der Vossen calls a “morally magical property” of being able to generate property rights all on their own, free of a larger moral context.  

So, once our respective positions are clarified, my own views on the issue at hand may not be as far from those of Prof. Bruce and Prof. Van der Vossen as it might at first appear.  In any event, I thank them for their useful remarks on my essay.

88 comments:

Glenn said...

To know what one is obligated to do, one simply needs to ask what is good for one. To know what is good for one, one simply needs to find out what is part of one's nature. To know the nature of a thing is to know what is good for that thing and what one is thus obligated to do. That's clear. -- Prof. Bruce

It is also clear that if some thing is only part of one's nature, then there are other things (or at least one other thing which is) also part of one's nature. This being so, it'll work out there are multiple obligations. But whether each of the multiple obligations can be equally and adequately met is not clear.

If not all obligations can be met, then some obligations will have or be given priority over others. In the case of a mother with children (Prof. Bruce's first argument), existing individuals will suffer if the obligation of a mother to care for her children is not met. In the case of a non-parent (Prof. Bruce's second argument), however, no existing individuals will suffer if the obligation to be a parent is not met.

Therefore, the leeway of a non-parent to give precedence to some obligation other than the obligation to become a parent, is greater than the leeway of a mother to give precedence to some obligation other than the obligation to care for her children.

Also, something could be made of the fact that the mother's obligation in the first argument is a 'present' obligation, while that of a non-parent in the second argument is a 'future' obligation.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

First off, here is the Real, Original Natural Law. Mr. Feser and the rest of the Catholic academia really have no clue on the real original Natural Law. It has just been reconstituted and what has been going on recently is just the mangled version of Stoic sophistry. The Natural Law is that which operates the cosmos, nothing more. St. Aquinas did not have the real original natural law so I don't know what "natural law" Aquinas and Feser are talking about. The Cynics and the Stoics both refused to pass it on. And certainly no one had it during the Medieval, Renaissance or Enlightenment.

Glenn said...

Not to play the ventriliquist, but...


Professor Feser,

I know what the Real, Original Natural Law is. And this is what comes to my mind when you use the term 'natural law'. However, what you have to say about 'natural law' is not consonant with my understanding of the Real, Original Natural Law. I myself spent 40 years as a Catholic, but I don't recall having come across anything which might aid me now in understanding what your intended reference is when you use the term 'natural law'. I did read your Natural Law, Natural Rights, and Private Property, which you link to above; but, honestly, it hasn't served to resolve my confusion. Can you kindly point me to some prior blog(s) of yours, or other resources, which might help me to better understand your understanding of 'natural law'?

Thank you,
W.LindsayWheeler


W,

Since you seem to have some familiarity with wiki things, you might look here. Also, given your past experience as a Catholic, you may benefit by reading the Catholic Encyclopdia's entry for 'natural law' here.

Thanks for asking, and glad to assist,
Ed

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Another way to say "Natural Law" is "Laws of Nature". Because if you knew the Greek, in the Greek, both have the same meaning.

Now, I've read the Catholic Encyclopaedia's entry on the "Natural Law" and the whole introductory paragraph is in error:
In English this term is frequently employed as equivalent to the laws of nature, meaning the order which governs the activities of the material universe. Among the Roman jurists natural law designated those instincts and emotions common to man and the lower animals, such as the instinct of self-preservation and love of offspring. In its strictly ethical application—the sense in which this article treats it—the natural law is the rule of conduct which is prescribed to us by the Creator in the constitution of the nature with which He has endowed us.

The Laws of Nature that the Greeks used and they are the first to coin that term, does not only apply to the material world but also to the living and spiritual world. So that is error one. The Greek use of "Laws of Nature" did not only pertain to the material physical world.

The Natural Law is not a "rule of conduct". The author out of hand dismisses outright the "Laws of Nature" and promotes the "Natural Law" of the ethical kind. If in Greek both phrases mean the same thing, how can this author dismiss outright the Laws of Nature?

Are you not breaking the Socratic dictum of accuracy and misusing the term "Natural Law"? And, then, shouldn't your term ALWAYS be prefaced as "Natural Moral Law"? If one is accurate, correct? And then tell me, how can you have a "Natural Moral Law" that has no foundation or basis or connection to the real orginal Natural Law, i.e. the metaphysical Laws of Nature? How does your "Natural Moral Law" countermand the real original Natural Law?

And from "Wikipedia" which just regurgitates the nonsense, Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature -- both social and personal -- and deduce binding rules of moral behavior.

No. The Natural Law is the Reason FOUND in nature and human reason is predicated upon the Logos found in the Natural Order.

Now, since you have no clue on the real original Natural Law, what "reason" are you using to make up your Natural Moral Law that you use in this article of yours? Is any of your "reasoning" based on the Logos?

I think before any Catholic write on the supposedly "Natural Law" don't you think they first need to acquaint themselves with the Real, Original Natural Law? I mean I kinda find it ridiculous that people talk of the "Natural Law" and have NO clue what it is.

Susan said...

I'm no philosopher, but isn't Prof. Bruce mistakenly equating "family" and "parenthood"? When I think of family relating to private property rights I think of an extended family, not necessarily a parents and children unit. If Aunt Mary never married she was historically still a major part of the family: knitting, babysitting, cleaning, perhaps teaching school. As were all the family members, whether they were parents or not.

Catholic priests have families. When someone says that families are the important unit of society, it means all units where people have blood ties to each other. Parents, yes, but also everyone else. Think of a farm family - it's extended, it owns property, and every member of it "has a family".

dover_beach said...

The Natural Law is the Reason FOUND in nature and human reason is predicated upon the Logos found in the Natural Order.

Quite, that is why the classical natural law tradition refers to final causes.

Anonymous said...

W, the entry at your wikinfo link asserts that the laws undergirding nature constitute natural law.

Glenn said...

Aquinas, OTOH, asserts that [P]articipation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.

Susan said...

"In human beings, this standard of goodness or defectiveness takes on a moral character to the extent that our realization of, or failure to realize, the ends set for us by nature results from our freely chosen actions."

Edward, that is a quote from your article in Liberty Forum. Just curious as to how our freely chosen actions result in failure to realize the ends set out for us. Maybe I am thinking "realize" in the sense of "tumble to" and you are using it in the sense of "accomplish"? Our actions don't lead to our understanding, correct?

Glenn, I wonder why your quote is worded "of the eternal law" instead of "participation in the eternal law."? You are quoting it correctly (I looked it up), but there are two possible meanings in that sentence. Backwards meanings. Am I (if rational) participating in eternal law or is eternal law participating in me?

Also, just a humorous aside with no meaning: the natural law link to Wikipedia which I read word for word and learned a lot from has not one woman's name mentioned. That I noticed anyway. Legal matters were evidently a guy-thing until recently.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Anonymous has it right! Yes, "the laws undergirding nature constitute natural law." Correct!

The laws and principles found in nature were called several different things: Laws of Nature, Natural Law, Sophia, and Logos.

When St. John uses the term "Logos" in his gospel, he is using the word "Logos" that was a philosophical term describing the "reason found in nature"!

Not only that but it is Pythagoras who catalogues the earliest term of "philosophy" which literally means "Lover of wisdom". Now, Pythagoras was taught by the Doric Greeks and their way of life was about imitating the Wisdom found in nature. That is what Philosophy means, loving the Wisdom found in nature.

So the Greeks had four terms for the same thing: Logos (from Heraclitus), Wisdom (from philo-Sophia; from Pythagoras) and Socrates and Plato used the term "according to nature", Laws of Nature and later on the Greek was shortened to just "Natural Law".

What happened is that the Cynics and the Stoics mangled the transmission by rejecting hierarchy and transformed the term "Natural Law" into their own uses. The Cynics and the Stoics were NOT philosophers but sophists since they rejected The Wisdom found in the Natural Order.

The Catholic Church has been following the wrong thing all these centuries. St. Thomas Aquinas has been following the wrong thing.

As Socrates said, "The Unexamined Life is not worth living". Somebody should've "examined".

Glenn said...

It's a verb/noun thing, Sue.

We can speak of a parent participating in the life of a child, and we can speak of the participation of a parent in the life of a child.

Likewise, we can speak of the eternal law participating in the rational creature, and we can speak of the participation of eternal law in the rational creature.

To speak of the rational creature as participating in eternal law is to take the rational creature as the starting point.

It is not difficult to imagine when and why this taking of the rational creature as the starting point may be a helpful stance.

Still, the question remains--which precedes the other: the eternal law or the rational creature?

Glenn said...

W,

I'm the Anonymous you say has it right. Posting the comment under 'Anonymous' was unintentional.

When you say I have it right, I take it to mean you are in agreement with my statement that "the entry at your wikinfo link asserts that..."

Regarding the rest of your repsonse, there is a point on which I am not clear:

Are you saying that Aquinas was in error, had no clue and didn't know what he was talking about when he explained his use of the term 'natural law'?

Daniel Smith said...

As a bit of an aside, I'm curious about the extent to which free will is recognized as "natural" and what part it plays in natural law.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

@ Glenn's question on Aquinas.

Correct. Aquinas was in error for Aquinas was taking up the Stoic error.

The Stoics mangled the transmission of the Natural Law and added to it their ideology of cosmopolitianism. The Stoics did NOT pass on the Natural Law as found in Socrates, Plato and Xenophon. They rejected it. The Stoics were ideologues not philosophers. So how could Aquinas have the real, original natural law?

Okay, where is "righteousness" which is a Law of Nature in Aquinas or in any Catholic article on the Natural Law? Any article at the New Advent Catholic Encyclopaedia have anything on "righteousness" which the whole of Plato's Republic is based on?

Humans have common sentiments but turning sentiments into a "natural moral law"? I have my doubts. I think that the whole past 900 years writing on the Natural Law is in error. In the Enlightenment and Renaissance, atomism was considered the Natural Law.

You can not have a "Natural Moral Law" without any foundation in the real, original Natural Law (updated) as discovered by the Dorians. I believe Catholics are on a wild goose chase with this one.

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

Someone else can correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that Plato's "righteousness" can be taken as "justice" and is often taken as such.

And why do you think that Aquinas' conception of natural law is strictly Stoic? If anything, it would seem to me that Aquinas would agree with you.

The impression you are giving of Aquinas is one of the 'volantarist' variety. He is not to be taken in that vein.

Ciao,
Michael

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Righteousness or "dike" is also translated as justice. But in reference to nature it relates to the dictum that all things are constructed to do one thing. The human face portrays righteousness. All the five senses, most of them located in the human face are all located in their own dedicated organ. The ear does not see or taste but only hears. The tongue only tastes; the tongue does not see nor hear. etc. That is righteousness.

Where in the Catholic Natural Moral Law is this dictum used to prove a point or is the basis of reasoning for the Natural Moral Law? See 'righteousness' is a law of nature that should be the basis of human reasoning. The Principle of Identity in the Socratic elanchus is based on this. Human reasoning is right when it first starts off by using and based on the Logos (i.e. the Natural Law). Where does Aquinas use the principle of righteousness, the dictum that all things are constructed to do one thing?

Xenophon in his Oeconomicus has Socrates say this at v.12:
"Yet again, the earth willingly teaches righteousnes to those who can learn;" (Loeb)

Where is "righteousness"? is this taught in the Catholic Natural Moral Law?

No, what I'm saying is that by chance I stumbled upon the real original natural law that was buried for 2200 years. The natural law as used by the Doric Greeks and Plato was about using the principles found in nature--never about applying them to human morality per se.

Plato's Republic is how righteousness works in the state and then in the individual. Dysfunctionality in the state and in the individual occurs when Righteousness is not obeyed. In this case it is righteous that the Reason leads the passions and not the passions the reason.

Michael, have you ever heard: "Righteousness, the dictum that all things are constructed to do one thing" in Catholic writing on the Natural Law? Did Aquinas have this? If that is the Natural Law, and men are lawyers and soldiers, why are women in the legal field and in the military? Why are Catholic Law schools accepting female candidates when clearly the natural law of righteousness would forbid such things?

Does anybody in the Catholic field have any idea what the true original Natural Law is? Or are you running after a phantasm?

Anonymous said...

WLW:

Do you really think words (and phrases) should only be used to mean one thing? So if "natural law" means one thing to you, no one else should be able to use it in another way?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

@ anonymous of 3:02.

Anon asks "Do you really think words and phrases should only be used to mean one thing? And I ask: What does Nature teach? (This question begins philosophy.)

Nature teaches Righteousness. Righteousness dictates that all things are constructed to do one thing, Right?

So if man uses words to discuss reality, shouldn't man's words that are images of reality match reality? If Reality, i.e. the Cosmos is built around Righteousness, doesn't that mean that man's words, in order to fit reality, """Mean one thing"""?

See, this is Right Reason. Right Reason is when man's reason is predicated upon the Logos. Most definitely a word must mean one thing because if it doesn't, what happens?

Confusion.

There is confusion in the Natural Law field. For one thing is the way Catholic Academia use the natural law the same way the ancient Greeks meant by the word? If not, (which is the case), how does one make a connection with what is being talked about now and what was talked about in Classical Antiquity? I mean can you transport your modern meaning back into history and would the modern meaning fit the context of what happened? If in the Republic, Plato states that "the state is according to nature". Well, if the Catholic Academia across the board here in their use of the Natural Law defend democracy by using their Natural Moral Law, it would NOT fit what Plato was talking about in the Republic because a republic is Mixed Government and NOT a democracy!

I have read all sorts of Catholic Natural Law stuff and NONE of it accords with the real, original Natural law! How does your Natural Moral Law countermand the real original Natural Law?

Furthermore, if you insist on making words have multiple meanings you are then breaking the European/Greek binary thought pattern that governs Logic, i.e. Paramenides principle of non-contradiction! Should words with their meanings counterdict themselves? I mean what was the Socratic Elanchus all about then? It was about preventing words having a double counterdicting meanings!

If read the Compendium of Catholic Social Justice and its references to this supposedly Natural Moral Law but it counterdicts the actual laws of the cosmos!

How can that be? Do you really have the real natural law?

I don't think so. You are on a wild goose chase!

Righteousness in reality means that man must also use righteousness in his language. God would demand so! I would think that there is no such thing as a Natural Moral Law, you're chasing after ghosts.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I ask, shouldn't Western Culture have a continuity between its Classical heritage and patrimony and its modern times?

Or do we engage in Machiavelli's revolution within the form and go willy-nilly in just doing what ever we want, redefining words to suit our fancy?

How can there be Western culture when Moderns rewrite everything? Are we really Western culture? Should there not be continuity in our langauge? Is not Philosophy about the Love of Truth? Is not a principle of Truth consistency? So were is the consistency in the Natural Law field? Uh. Or are the Roman Catholics so befuddled with error that they followed nihilists? I thought Philosophy dealt with the Truth. The criteria of truth is consistency. What, there is no consistency between the ancients and the moderns? Do the moderns and the Roman Catholics have the Truth on the Natural Law?

Alan Aversa said...

Happy feast of St. Anselm. I'd like to suggest you do a posting on Thomist supporters of Anselm's ontological argument. Are there any? Thanks

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

"No, what I'm saying is that by chance I stumbled upon the real original natural law that was buried for 2200 years. The natural law as used by the Doric Greeks and Plato was about using the principles found in nature--never about applying them to human morality per se."

Yes, yes. Catholic natural law includes this idea of principles found in nature. I'm not sure if the specific word of "righteousness" has survived all this time but the fundamental idea has.

If I where to label what you call the natural law I would call it final causality or teleology or something similar. Moreover there is no good reason to say that words cannot change their meanings over time--such is completely compatible with an objective reality.

Now, if humans are part of nature and have free-will, why shouldn't we look towards the Logos for guidance in area of morals? You're not a hopeless Hume "guillotiner" are you?

Take it easy,
- Michael

W.LindsayWheeler said...

What I find frustrating with Catholics is that they will never admit that they are wrong. (Most of the time they aren't, but in this case they are.) They will not admit that they have been snookered.

Michael, the Catholic writer of the Natural Law article of the Catholic Encyclopaedia writes this: In its strictly ethical application—the sense in which this article treats it—the natural law is the rule of conduct . The writer earlier dismisses the "laws of nature". Nowhere in the Encyclopaedia will you find the "laws of nature". Furthermore, this author creates a false dichotomy between "Laws of Nature" and "Natural Law" where in the Greek there is no distinction.

"Houston, we have a problem".

You are trying, Michael, to slide out of the difficulty which you can not face the facts of.

Jacques Maritain is this guru of the Natural Law in Catholic Academia, yet the man endorses, advocated, and defended democracy. Socrates and Plato were misodemos, haters of democracy. There is an inconsistency. Did Maritain have the true, real, original natural law? And if he did how then his advocacy of democracy? Someone is lying.

For if one is knowledgeable about the Natural Law of Righteousness, there is no righteousness in democracy. The Vulgar class can not lead itself. Nature did not give leadership to the vulgar class. Nature obeys the Law. Democracy has no distinctions of rank or the division of function which would be signs of Righteousness. Democracy is against the Natural Law in all sorts of respects. Yet, Maritain was a big promoter, as well as much of Catholic Academia who profess allegiance to the Natural Law, of democracy.

That can NOT be the case! Someone is blowing smoke up someone's ....

Michael writes: there is no good reason to say that words cannot change their meanings over time--such is completely compatible with an objective reality.
History is an objective reality. The Greeks used the terms Laws of Nature and Natural Law and Socrates and Plato's meaning of them is NOT the Catholic meaning! So how do students, who know no better, understand what they read in classical texts? How do they read Heraclitus and his use of the word "Logos". Is Logos the Catholic meaning or is it the meaning of the Doric Greeks? Did not the meaning of the Doric Greeks that the Logos is the reason found in nature, steering nature?

One of the Natural Laws is "The Rule of One is Best". That is found in Insects, animal herds and in human societies of old, Monarchy. The heavens run on that as well. Where is that labelled and catalogued as the Natural Law ANYWHERE in Catholic literature on the subject?

Is "The rule of one is best" your "final causality or teleology or something similar"? How laughable. The rule of one is best is how the world works. That is how reality works. That is the Logos! I thought Christendom was "Throne and Altar", the Old Order. So why are so many Catholics running around promoting democracy for? Does democracy follow this Natural Law?

NO. Does Democracy follow the division of function? NO. Does democracy have distinctions of rank? NO.

Obviously you do NOT have the Real, Original Natural Law and any attempts to squirm out of your predicament only makes you look sad, and dishonest. Point to me anywhere in any Catholic writing this "Rule of One is Best"? and is it used in your precious fictitious Natural Moral Law theory.

Anonymous said...

Just so you all have an idea who you're dealing with...
http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2012/03/internet-crackpots-and-the-perils-of-autodidacticism.html

A. R. Diaz said...

@ Anonymous April 22, 2012 7:07 AM

Hahahaha! No wonder Feser, wisely, has simply ignored the guy.

Scott W. said...

Hahahaha! No wonder Feser, wisely, has simply ignored the guy.

Indeed. Maybe we can start talking about the joooos!

Anonymous said...

It's comments like the last two that have led me to decide not to continue reading this blog.

Eduardo said...

Is the last comment the reason why I wonder why I still read comments... I suffer from a severe comment reading addiction XD Actually I read comments before the post in many occasions.

Scott W. said...

Ok, lemme get this straight...a guy comes on and spams his link over and over, demonstrates he has no knowledge of Feser's position yet smugly declares that he is laughably wrong and we're the reason your gonna stop reading the blog?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Upholding the traditional Catholic teaching on the Jews makes one a pariah? What does "conservatism" mean if one doesn't uphold the traditional teaching of the Church? I make no apologies.

Furthermore, All sorts of people comment here, Atheists, heretics, people who deny Jesus Christ, pro-abortionists but now the only commandment that will get on burned at the stake is "anti-semitism"? Is "anti-semitism" one of the Ten Commandments? Is it a normal teaching of Western Culture that Europeans persecute other Europeans over the charge of anti-semetism? Do Christians define each other and harass each other over charges of anti-semitism? People deny Jesus Christ all day long and nothing happens to them. Say someone is anti-semitic and it is grounds to beat him up. Is what defines Christianity and Western Culture Anti-semitism? We can blaspheme God all day long, but if someone is anti-semitic, he goes automatically to hell?

When did anti-semitism becomes grounds for Academic acceptance? When do Christians attack other Christians for anti-semitism? Do the Jews have this much control over our religion, our relationships, and our culture? I guess Anti-semitism is our new God. Does anti-semitism trump denying Jesus Christ as Lord? What are your values? And who taught you your values? You can deny Jesus and be acceptable. Be an anti-semite and one is automatically condemned? Is this traditional European culture and values?

Upholding and teaching the traditional teaching of the Church is just righteousness. Truth is never wrong. Christians need to concern themselves with Traditional Christian teaching and stop listening to critics of Christian teaching.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Edward Feser cites three individuals in his paper, Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke and calls them "philosophers". A philosopher is a Lover of Wisdom, divine wisdom, i.e. the Logos.

Descartes, Hobbes and Locke are sophists, but not philosophers. Descartes rejected teleology. Teleology is the Natural Law, part of the Logos. Descarte is not a philosopher but a sophist. Hobbes is an atheist. No atheist can be a philosopher. Hobbes is a sophist. Locke is a socianist. I spelled that correctly, a socianist. Socianism denies the Trinity. So Locke is not a philosopher but a sophist for the Trinity is the embodiement of the Natural Law.

Any denial of any part of the real, original Natural Law or of a metaphysical transcendent God, prevents one from becoming a "Lover of Wisdom", a philosopher. Everything else is just either ideology or sophistry. Descarte, Hobbes, and Locke are sophists, not philosophers.

Mr. Feser uses teleology in his article to prove his point. Teleology is part of the Laws of Nature, not the Natural Moral Law for teleology exists in all the spheres of the cosmos. That all things have an end is what makes up the cosmos. Telelogy is embeded throughout Nature. Human reasoning borrows what Nature teaches. Teleology is a Law of Nature which is then applied to human reasoning to defend a certain position like private property.

So I can't figure out the author of the New Advent article that defines the Natural Law as solely concerning human morality. Private property is neither morality or ethics. Private property is socio-economics borne in agricultural societies and is not prevalent in hunter-gather groups. Private property was a later addition to human life. It seems to me that Mr. Feser is arguing his point from the Laws of Nature and not the Natural Moral Law (if such a thing exists anyway).

My point of contention is of using the Natural Law to prove the existence of "Human rights". Parents have duties toward their children. No child has "rights". That is just super-silly.

"Human rights" is a creation of the so-called Enlightenment which was for all basic concerns was a movement of Atheists. Why are Catholics concerning themselves with an innovation of "Human rights" which was an invention of atheists.

Wikipedia points to the basis of this: In The idea of human rights[3] it says: "if the public discourse of peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral language, it is that of human rights." Yes, human rights are the precursor to a "global society". Rights come from a society that grants them to its members. You had to be a Roman citizen in order to benefit from Roman rights.

Global society is an error; it is an heresy. There is no such thing. The Wikipedia Article states that the beginning of natural rights comes out of the Age of Enlightenment. The so-called Enlightenment was anti-Christian. Why are Catholics taking up Enlightenment teachings for?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

After reading James Bruce's article, I wonder if trying to prove "human rights" in a family is just too much navel gazing for academics. I find it hard that (a) caring for a child is an obligation and (2) is the right of a child.

A mother NATURALLY cares for a child. This natural caring is a sentiment or an instinct. "Obligation" requires reasoning and some sort of contract. To care for a child is a sentiment embedded in the female nature. To suckle and to take care of it is a sentiment, an instinct.

Is too much of the Catholic sense of their "Natural Moral Law" is not a law per se, but human sentiments? Even animals care for their young but it is instinct. Man is also an animal and one third of human behavior, I would opine, is instinct.

How, when and where does Roman Catholic Academia in their Natural Moral Law theory separate instinct from moral law. When the Natural Law is "Blood is thicker than water" is that not an instinct buried in animals and humans. As animals, do not animals have emotions and is not caring for something "animal". Is that not why God created us that way?

Maybe Mr. Feser would do a study of what is "emotion", "sentiment", "instinct" and Natural Law. Is what the Catholics define as naturl law just animal instinct? is it Sentiments? How does "caring for a child" by its mother "moral"? Is it not just au-naturale? Is it NOT instinct? Or embeded sentiment?

My question boils down to this, Is this not all a case of Overreaching? What is the Natural Moral Law? Does it deal with Morality or does it encroach upon instincts and/or sentiments?

I believe someone is chugging down the wrong tracks.

The real, original Natural Law is that which guides, upholds and builds the Natural Order.

What is the Natural Moral Law of the Catholics then? If Moral is the middle part of this phrase, how come Instinct comes under its purview? Can instinct be right or wrong? Is it there naturally? How can it be wrong? Is Instinct morality? If not, why is it then covered by the Catholic Natural Moral Law theory?

Expanding something beyond its borders destroys other things. Instinct is Instinct, not a Natural Moral Law.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard that (a) caring for a child is an obligation and (2) is the right of a child.

A mother NATURALLY cares for a child. This natural caring is a sentiment or an instinct.


No. Perhaps it would be better if you stuck to what you know.

I also note that in your view the Catholic Church is right and infallible when you interpret it as cursing the Jews but wrong, consistently wrong for a thousand years, on the subject of Natural Law.

So, you're a conservative Catholic that adheres strongly and consistently to Catholic doctrine except when you feel no strong inclination to do so.

You also know nothing about parenting.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Here is the Catholic idea of the Natural Law. This is an actual quote from a lay Catholic:

Quote:
"At the heart of all Catholic teaching is the natural law–not to be confused with the laws of nature."

Uh?

That is the heart of the problem. The term, "the natural law" has now been divorced from the "laws of nature".

Where did this concept originate from? The Greeks. What did they mean by the Natural law? ----laws and principles found in Nature like the Golden Mean that defines what Virtue is.

The author of this post then gives a definition of the Natural Law as defined by Thomas Merton, who in my opinion was an heretical Catholic:

Quote:
"… the natural law is simply that we should recognize in every other human being the same nature, the same needs, the same rights, the same destiny as in ourselves. The plainest summary of all the natural law is: to treat other men as if they were men. Not to act as if I alone were a man, and every other human were an animal or a piece of furniture."

Let me counterdict, and refute poor Thomas Merton with a peasant Russian proverb as quoted by an orthodox Catholic, Erik von Kuenhelt-Leddihn:

Quote:
""Shto russkomu zdorovo, to nyemtsomu smert", ("What is healthy for a Russian is deadly for a German".)


So NO, you can't treat everybody the same and NO everybody doesn't have the same "rights".

That as a science, the Natural Law field is pretty much all screwed up. As you can see many Catholics have the impression that the "Laws of Nature" are far different from the "Natural Law" and that Catholics have nothing to do with the "Laws of Nature".

Maybe before anybody starts talking about the so-called "natural law", we should first find what it was at its origin!

"At the heart of all Catholic teaching is the natural law–not to be confused with the laws of nature."

Pretty much sums up the total vacuity and disarray in the Catholic Natural Law field.

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

Few things in no particular order. I don't have time to comment on everything you say.

Here is the Catholic idea of the Natural Law. This is an actual quote from a lay Catholic:

Quote:
"At the heart of all Catholic teaching is the natural law–not to be confused with the laws of nature."

When someone makes a distinction between natural law and laws of nature they usually mean the latter in the sense of a subset of specifically scientific regularities... gravity, thermodynamics, etc. This does not mean that such a person rejects the idea that there is teleology in nature or that we discover much of the moral law through reasoning about nature. Nor does it mean the person rejects the idea that we can reason to the existence of God, Who is the binding force behind the natural law.

"Natural law" has been traditionally made to include the binding norm, the discriminating norm, and the manifesting norm. It goes beyond the such a Greek conception of "natural law". Who says there isn't room for development in philosophy?

What you say about language is mostly right. But instead of destroying the history of etymology and its legitimate development, one could merely teach the differences. It's what you are trying to do in your posts, and it is often what Dr. Feser does in his writings.

Just because someone is a lover of wisdom doesn't mean he can never be in error. If that was the case I daresay you yourself wouldn't be a philosopher. Well, then, what are you?

And finally, we must realize that many who advocate democracy are not advocating the same thing that someone like Plato meant by the term. Context is very important in discerning the meaning of a word and I believe that you aren't taking as much notice of it as you should.

Take care,
Michael

Michael said...

Addendum:

I do think you have a point in that the words "natural law" are usually meant to cover that aspect of morality that is discoverable by human reason and not the more broad-stroked meaning that some of the Greeks gave it.

However, that being the case, that in no way implies that what the Greeks are talking about has been denied. Indeed, unity in multiplicity is confirmed and presupposed by such a contemporary use of the words "natural law".

Anonymous said...

W,

Look, I don't care what your position is, but you've got to stop referring to our host as "Mr. Feser." He has a PhD. Respect that.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

My apologies to Dr. Feser.

Many people have a vested interest in the status quo; their books, their careers and their agendas require that.

Michael asks us all to "go along, to get along"; we must accept the growth of meaning through history. What he doesn't tell you that Atheists, nihilists and revolutionaries have no respect for language. They change it according to their fancy. What Michael asks us to do is accept Atheist, nihilist, and revolutionary changes in the language. That Catholics HAVE TO accept this. That to have Christian culture, to have a Truth language, we must accept error and falsehood in language.

The Spartans said, "There is no soothfast art in speech". How true.

This battle is not new. Thucydides, in his histories says definitions of words was changed; the language was butchered. One of the missions of Socrates was about defending the integrity of meaning in words and truth in Language. Here, a pagan is fighting for the Truth, yet Catholics want dpn't want to do this!

Much of the early Platonic dialogues is Socrates defending language and even the meaning of philosophy. Have you not noticed that in many instances Plato uses the phrase "True philosophy" to distinguish it from what was going on in even in his day. There was true philosophy and people pushing a faux philosophy going on in his day.

Machiavelli purposely changed the definition of a republic. He openly said that they will keep the name but change the definition of it.

Michael, do you propose that Catholics adopt Machiavelli's definition of a republic of "any government without a king"? Or should Catholics go with the original meaning of a republic of "mixed government"? Machiavelli was an atheist and a hater of Catholicism. He wanted to destroy Christendom and his definition was used to do just that. He did it by changing the definitions underneath words.

All sorts of words are being redefined by people with evil intent. Do we accept that Michael? Is this how Catholics approach language and meaning?

Do Catholics accept the revolutionary meaning of republic by Machiavelli or do Catholics return to the original true meaning of a republic?

Again, today, philosophy is being redefined as "critical discussion". That is NOT the meaning of philosophy. But since true philosophy does not accept atheists, the marxists have to change the meaning of it. Do Catholics accept the redefinition of philosophy? Should not Catholics concern themselves with True Philosophy like Socrtes?

The term, Natural Law, was redefined by the Stoics. This error went unchallenged for 2000 years. No one examined it. And now we are supposed to accept that?

So in a field of Science, we are okay with crappy and impure language? Does this sound like Science? Does not Science require accuracy and fidelity and consistency?

You write: "Natural law" has been traditionally made to include the binding norm, the discriminating norm, and the manifesting norm. It goes beyond the such a Greek conception of "natural law".

Yes, your modern bastardized meaning is so far ""beyond"" the Greek meaning, that the original concepts, principles and laws ALL DISAPPEARED! That European thought is now so deficient and full of errors because the real, original natural law has been lost.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

The problem is that there is no other meaning "beyond" the natural law that the Dorians discovered because the Natural Law came out of the Mouth of God, the Logos. There is NO other development. The Logos said, "Man does not Live by Bread alone--but by EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God"! There is ONLY One Natural Law and that proceeded out of the mouth of God. If you don't have the real, original Natural Law---man dies. You can not forgo righteousness, nor right proportion, nor symmetry, nor "the rule of one is best", etc. God and Nature don't care about "man's fancy". The natural law, or laws of nature is the Logos. Can man live without the Logos? Here is an article for you to explain that: Christ the Logos, the font of Greek philosophy

There is ONLY one Natural Law promulgated in Nature by the Logos. Man lives by the Logos of Divine Revelation and by the Logos in the Cosmos. Man can NOT dismiss, disregard either one of them.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

"When someone makes a distinction between natural law and laws of nature they usually mean the latter in the sense of a subset of specifically scientific regularities... gravity, thermodynamics, etc."

Can't. Because when the Greeks coined both phrases "laws of nature" and "natural law" no Greek knew of ""specifically scientific regularities... gravity, thermodynamics, etc."" How can something that was focused on Metaphysics be considered materialistic physical science 2000 years later? Gravity and thermodynamics are Laws of physics.

Again. If you say that modern people are making a distinction between laws of Nature and the Natural Law, they are accepting one thing---and discarding the other! Catholics are throwing away the Laws of Nature. Is this right? That Nature teaches nothing? What we have here is that Catholics across the board are rejecting the Logos embeded in nature! There is a hatred among the politically correct Catholics of the Laws of Nature! Why? because they know instinctively that their political correctness which has been massaged into the Gospel clashes with the Laws of Nature. Moreover, many think that the Laws of Nature are against the Gospel. If Jesus Christ is the author of both the Gospel and the Laws of Nature---how can any good righteous Christian refuse them?

Again. There is a huge amount of confusion. Is Christianity about Confusion? Why are people confusing the law of physics with the metaphysical laws of nature? Are you doing your jobs? Did not Socrates teach in the Republic the art of "To Define and Divide"?

Your Natural Moral Law as referenced many times in the Compendium of Catholic Social Justice counterdicts and countermands the real original Natural Law. Your Natural Moral Law has no connection to Nature at all! That is not the Natural Law! Shouldn't your Natural Moral Law be based and founded upon the real, original Natural Law?

Furthermore, about the further "development of philosophy", Socrates said, this in the Gorgias:

Quote:
"...philosophy holds ALWAYS to the same, ..." (sec 482, a)

Doric philosophy was based on the Natural Law. The Natural Law never changes, so philosophy, the Love of the Natural Law, does not change. And no, there is no difference between the democracy practiced in Athens and the democracy practiced now! Read Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality. Democracy is democracy and no democracy anywhere, anytime is "according to nature" that is why Socrates and Plato both said democracy always falls into tyranny. It can't be stopped.

Anonymous said...

W. Lindsay Wheeler 1: "Jacques Maritain is this guru of the Natural Law in Catholic Academia, yet the man endorses, advocated, and defended democracy. Socrates and Plato were misodemos, haters of democracy. There is an inconsistency. Did Maritain have the true, real, original natural law? And if he did how then his advocacy of democracy? Someone is lying. "

W. Lindsay Wheeler 2: "My philosophy is derived from Socrates, Plato and Jacque Maritain's Aristotelian-Thomism"

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:WHEELER)

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

Your enthusiasm for the truth is beautiful. Thank you. What is not so beautiful are some of the glosses you are making (they are leading you into error).

"Michael asks us all to "go along, to get along"; we must accept the growth of meaning through history."

Please speak for yourself. Your terminology is ambiguous. I allow for the development of words and concepts in relation to our collective understanding. Further still, when someone grasps a fundamental and unchanging truth, development can still be had--more details and relations can be discovered and, especially in the area of morality, new situations can arise in which to apply tried and true principles.

Democracy and the big bad Catholic Church as a supporter angle that you are taking definitely does not work. For one, Plato talks about an absolute democracy. In general, when people talk about democracy today they usually do not mean the same thing. For instance, in the USA citizens are a part of a democratic republic [however well the ideal is currently being realized, it is not so bad as of yet to call it something else. And by the way, separation of powers is about as close as one can get to dividing separate functions].

Catholic morality is fundamentally tied to the order of the cosmos... anything you say against this is merely hogwash. That's why it is legitimate to say whatever is true in the Greek conception of natural law is true in the developments that have been made. Your historical assertion in this matter is nothing but.

Here's the biggest problem I see: basically, you must be willing to learn how others speak and what their words mean if you are going to teach them the truth. The rest of the world has moved on... if you want to love others you need to be willing to be all things to all people. Start in their shoes, but do not compromise the truth. I do not go around telling the rest of society that they need to obey cannon law. I got over it and moved on.

If you stick on this road you're going to suffocate yourself out of existence, so to speak... or not speak.

Also, if you keep your responses shorter and less numerous people are more likely to take you seriously and it will give you more chance for dialog instead of Bible Thumping.

I hope you see the good in these words.
Take care,
Michael

Glenn said...

W.LindsayWheeler: One of the missions of Socrates was about defending the integrity of meaning in words and truth in Language.

Michael: "Natural law" has been traditionally made to include the binding norm, the discriminating norm, and the manifesting norm. It goes beyond the such a Greek conception of "natural law". Who says there isn't room for development in philosophy?

Socrates: I am myself a great lover of these processes of division and generalization; they help me to speak and to think. (Phaedrus)

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I love Maritain's Introduction to Philosophy. I reject his later books where he promotes democracy. He did not have the real, original Natural Law and I fear that he was infected with political correctness which skewered his thought and reasonings. Right now it is a mystery of why there is a huge inconsistencies in his writings! Promoting democracy is progressive when as a staunch Aristotelian-Thomist he did NOT defend the Old Order. Maybe peasants should not be philosophers. Philosophy is an aristocratical art.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

a) [Heraclitus] "Out of the Logos stems forth the law of nature, than all things in nature develop themselves in accordance with the law of the Logos." (from Lex Christianorum)

That and only that is the definition of the Laws of Nature and to dismiss the Laws of Nature is to dismiss the Logos, i.e. Jesus Christ.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Here is an excerpt from a book I'm in the process of writing on the Natural Law.

The next way station was Gnaeus Ulpianus (c. 170 – 223 A.D.), shortened to just Ulpian. Ulpian wrote:

"The law of nature is that which nature teaches all animals. For that law is not proper to the human race, but it is common to all animals which are born on the earth and in the sea, and to the birds also.(Porter, 346)

This would be considered true by the Doric Greeks. Benjamin Jowett, in his translation of Plato's Republic, submitted this phrase instead of a strict translation of the Greek, "Birds of a feather, flock together". Just as animals congregate by kind, so Socrates was applying this to how humans act; they congregate by kind. They segregate themselves by many criteria for example, age, young hang out with young and old with old; economics, rich with the rich and poor with the poor; or by race. Humans act much like the domesticated herd animals that man surrounds himself with. Furthermore, Aristotle defines man as a 'social animal', i.e. a herd animal. Socrates in the Gorgias, asks,

"Is a man a member of the animal kingdom or not" (§516 b)

It is answered in the affirmative.

This definition of Ulpian did not survive the scrutiny with either St. Isidore of Seville (560 – 636 A.D.) or with St. Albert the Great (c. 1200 – 1280 A.D.) They redefined the term. "In lieu of Ulpian's definition of the natural law, as one men shared with animals, St. Isidore replaced it with a Ciceronian, Ulpian, Gaian, even Aristotelian mixture (Crowe, 69) more redolent of the Roman notion of the ius gentium than of the Ulpian ius naturale. Thus, St. Isidore replaced the Ulpian definition of "natural law" with the following: […] Natural law (ius naturale) is common to all nations, and, because it exists everywhere by the instinct of nature, it is not kept by any regulation". (Lex Christianorum d) Instead of pulling from the Natural Order rules and precepts, St. Isidore is now looking for "common human action" that exist amongst the different nations of man. Then "Because he [St. Albert] saw the ius naturale as a habitus that was at the foundation of rational morality, St. Albert rejected Ulpian's definition of the natural law. As Crowe puts it: "There is no room in [Albert's] view for Ulpian's quod natura omnia animalia docuit--there can be no natural law common to man and brute." (Crowe, cited by Lex Christianorum e)

"Reason is overriding and overarching, so as to pale any sharedness between the brutes and man, even in the matter of procreation". (St. Albert the Great)

This can't be more wrong. Thus, the natural law was completely divorced from the cosmos. The Catholic Church teaches the immutability of the Natural Law but here in these historical instances, the definition of the Natural Law has been changed, leading to either hypocrisy or that the Natural Law is not immutable.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

"Houston, We have a problem".

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

"That and only that is the definition of the Laws of Nature and to dismiss the Laws of Nature is to dismiss the Logos, i.e. Jesus Christ."

What you gave is not a proper definition. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle would expect better of you.

Your conception of what Catholics hold to be natural law is somewhat flawed. It is not divorced from the order of the cosmos... how can it be since God created all. Also, your quote about St. Isidore and St. Albert is much too hasty for my likes. For one, just because someone focuses on behavior or habit doesn't mean that they reject the order and unity of the cosmos; that's silly.

Read the quote from St. Albert again: "Reason is overriding and overarching, so as to pale any sharedness between the brutes and man, even in the matter of procreation". (St. Albert the Great)

You could read that in a way which confirms your own assumptions or you could read it in the more probable light: that he was emphasizing a distinction but not eliminating any 'sharedness'. What does "pale" mean in this context; what does it mean in relation to other things he has said?

And regardless of what St. Isidore and St. Albert have said... if I am not mistaken, they are not saints because of any philosophical treatise but for their exemplary life. At the end of the day the position of the Church is that the natural law (such as the ten commandments) can be discerned from the order of nature. That is part and parcel of any morality that claims to be human (in the sense of applicable to humans).

Oh and by the way, Heraclitus is also thought to have said that "Everything is fire", which, if you are familiar with a few strains of thought in the history of philosophy, you'll know that it is a very Nietzsche-ian line of thought.

Take care,
Michael

W.LindsayWheeler said...

You must be a lawyer Michael. The contortions and semantic wrangling amaze me. I knew Catholics would do such a thing. They are good at weaseling out of things. Your hand got caught in the cookie jar, and so 2+2=10. The hand is quicker than the eye and I'm watching a shell game. I have "assumptions" and it all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is. Plain English can not extricate you these difficulties so out come the smoke and mirrors, razzle dazzle.

I assume meaning what is the definition of "pale" is but if you read St. Albert, he says "even in matters of procreation". Sounds to me that St. Albert has totally dismissed all and any similarity between man and animal. I mean I take Crowe as a witness which I agree with. I agree with Crowe's assesment, but I have assumptions. No words about Crowe?

The Natural Law is NOT the Ten Commandments. You are breaking the dictum of Righteousness. The natural law is not a big Tent theory. The Ten Commandments has nothing to do with the Natural Law.

See, when St. Albert divorced the natural law from the cosmos and nature, he buried the Logos, which has nothing to do with morality. The Catholic conception is all wrapped up in morality. That is NOT the natural law!

You wrote this: ""Natural law" has been traditionally made to include the binding norm, the discriminating norm, and the manifesting norm." Well, I never heard that and so I googled it. It is a legal term. It means "an authoritative standard, a principle of right action,..."

Michael, I will now show how vampant your arguments of "development" really is. Can that be applied to "righteousness" which is a law of nature? or how about the Golden Mean? The real, original Natural Law is NOT a principle of right action, but the way the world works. Is this "norm" stuff applicable to Laws of Nature? NO. The Natural Law operates the Cosmos, the Heraclitian, "steering all things from within". None of your Norm stuff is applicable to the real, original natural law. Your so-called natural law is blowing smoke. It is all a figment of your imaginations. St. Albert and St. Isidore broke the real original natural law. And so now NO Catholic has the real original natural law because it was misdirected. It got obscurred. The natural law has nothing to do with right action, but with "How the World Works".

You don't get Michael any of the posts that I have written. The Natural Law has NOTHING, NOTHING to do with morality in essence. Please Michael pull up any Catholic treatise on the Natural Law that talks of the Golden Mean as it plays out in the Natural Order and how that is then applicable to human actions. See, Aristotle uses it in the discussion of virtue, But where does this come from? And where is this taught in any RC document on the Natural Law?

See, no Roman Catholic will ever outright say, they are in error, that they have been snookered. That St. Albert blew it. None of you have the real, original Natural Law. You've all been following a pipe dream.

Certainly Michael, you don't get it. You've been locked in a box, and you can't get out. "Concept precedes knowledge" as Socrates said, and it is clear that you guys don't. And some way, some how, you'll figure out a way to worm your way out of it! Figures.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Yes, Michael, The Natural Law OPERATES IN BOTH MAN AND ANIMAL.

The Natural Law of Righteousness operates in both man and animal. All animals are constructed to do one thing. Deer eat grass. They don't run down wolves the next day and eat them!

Righteousness is also exhibited in their organs and of sense and smell just like in humans. St. Albert is smoking hashish! What kind of idiotic statement! If you read Xenophon it was from the dissection of animals that this was derived from!

Let me see, "Birds of a feather, flock together". That operates in animals and in humans. Why do you think Michael that all the animals that man has domesticated, except for the domestic cat, all are herd animals. Is that a coincidence Michael. What does "Righteousness" have to do with "right action"? As Socrates would ask, does your Definition of Roman Catholic Natural Law Theory met and rightely define what Righteousness is?

And now, Michael, As Johann Herder discovered the two laws of group dynamics, "the sense of belonging" and "the sense of Volkenhass" does that NOT operate IN BOTH Herd Predator animals and in Humans?

So why does your Compendium of Catholic Social Justice which references your Natural Law---countermand and even attack racial prejudice and animosity for?

The Criteria of the Natural Law is that it operates in all the spheres! Tell, me Michael, where is Macrocosm and Microcosm in your Natural Law? Where? Do you even know what it is? The Natural Law appears in both the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. Belonging and Volkenhass are in both the Animal and Human spheres. At the basis of "Birds of a feather flock together" is "the sense of belonging" and "volkenhass". Yes, I learned my natural law on farms, observing nature, not from some textbook.

It is quite obvious that none of you know the real, original Natural Law. You don't know the definition of it! And your bastardized version is not applicable to the phrase in Classical Greek literature whatsoever! Nor will anyone of you ever admit it. The Natural Law comes from Nature---not from reading a textbook. You all got it all wrong! When is the last time some Roman Catholic Author of the natural law spent anytime on a farm? Observed nature? Pulled any teaching from nature? Have you observed chickens and geese? Cows and Horses? That is where the Natural Law comes from---NOT from your bloody classrooms and not from a library!

Glenn said...

Yes, I learned my natural law on farms, observing nature

So how come you're not domesticated?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Have you all forgot the Socratic (Doric) Elenchus?

When Socrates asks, "Give me a definition of courage that fits ALL situations that require courage". It is the principle of consistency, a corallary to the Natural Law of macrocosm/microcosm.

Please, someone more smarter than me, some PHD, give me a definition of the Natural Law that fits all occurences of it?

Have you forgot your logic training that Plato supplied you in the Socratic/Doric Elanchus?

Paramenides principle of non-contradiction.

Socrates asks from the heavens, "Give me a definition of the natural law that fits all situations of it."

Conclusion: There is no other definition of it other than the original because all the definitions and developments can not fit into the original meaning! A development requires that it stays within the parameters of the original or perfects it. Any later development that doesn't agree with its origin then destroys the original definition thus causing it to dissapear. There is no other definition than the original one.

The only definition is the one given by the people that discovered it and coined and used for over 600 years and that is the Doric Greeks which influenced Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

If the Natural Law is immutable, then its definition is immutable! Pretty indestructible logic. It is you who said it is immutable. If it is immutable-----Michael----then its definition has to be immutable! And that immutablity starts from the very beginning! And the ONLY definition of it can be from the people who discovered it and USED IT! And if you can change it, your telling me that the Spartans are in error?

The evidence of classical republicanism is a sign of the use of the Natural Law. You can't say that of America and I've read too many Catholic natural law papers and articles defending democracy. Either the Spartans are right or you are right but Paramenides dictum of non-contradiction says that Both can NOT be right. My own observations of nature tend to corroborate the Dorians and their discovery. None of what your write corresponds to nature.

Logic anybody? How about going back to Philosophy 101 and the Socratic/Doric Elanchus.

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

I am not thankful towards you for saying I must be a lawyer and all the other tripe that you assert of me.

To everyone: I'm sorry, I fed the troll. W.LindsayWheeler had the beginnings or inklings of a good point but then it turned into a soap box rant.

Move along, move along; nothing to see here.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I can solve this mess for you and we can go our separate ways and I will leave you all alone.

Your so-called "Natural Law" is the invention of Stoics and Roman lawyers, of St. Isidore and St. Albert. YOUR conception comes from these people, NOT from Plato, Socrates, Heraclitus or Pythagoras.

If the term has been redefined, then it is your baby to RENAME IT. I Have had the same problems with Andrew Greenhill over at Lex Christianorum and for the most part he sticks to using the "Natural MORAL Law".

To get back to this thread, Dr. Feser's article, “Natural Law, Natural Rights, and Private Property,” is misnamed.

To solve this problem you all have to stick with using either "The Natural MORAL Law" or the "Stoic Natural Moral Law" or the "Albertian-Thomistic Natural Moral Law" for what you all talk about is not the real, original natural law.

Your and others redefinitions of words have corrupted Classical Studies and the understanding of Doric Culture and their patrimony and heritage. You can NOT transport your conception of your so-called "natural law" back into history and it be right and understandable! That is the point.

It is not right, scientific, accurate or historical. The Onus is on YOU to have your title match what you say not take an Historical term and redefine it. That is UNethical and unrighteous. For people who talk of ethics, the bastardization of language is a sin. To mislead and deceive is evil.

Dr. Feser needs to rename his article “Natural MORAL Law, Natural Rights, and Private Property,” or "Allbertian-Thomistic Natural Law, etc." or "The Stoic Natural Moral Law..." etc.

When you redefine the term "natural law" your students will have a warped view and then if any of them read classical texts, and the history of Sparta they will NOT recognize what is going on for the language has been bastardized.

You don't want me on your forums---stop misrepresenting the real Natural Law. My people created, developed, and used the real, original Natural Law and when you redefine it, you obscure their achievements, misconstrue what they have done, and then others cast aspersions upon them. Furthermore, you deceive many when you say that.

Mark Levine wrote in his book:
""There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity---the law of nature and of nations. (quoting Edmund Burke) This is the Natural Law that penetrates man's being and which the Founding Fathers adopted as the principle around which civilized American society would be organized." (pg 25)

America was never, never built on the Natural Law. You can not say America was built on the natural law and then know that Sparta was built on the Natural Law! Plato affirms this "a state according to nature". Plato's Republic is based on the Spartan Republic. The Spartan Republic was "kata physin", according to the Natural Law. America has NOTHING to do with the Natural Law.

I will leave you all alone. Stay out of my field. Don't use the Doric title of "natural law", rename your stuff. You have the Natural MORAL Law NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH the real original natural law. Dr Feser and the rest of you need to be more accurate, truthful, and scientific. When the Stoics, St. Isidore and St. Albert and the Roman lawyers all renamed the natural law---it is up to you to change the nomenclature to coincide with the subject material and not confuse your fancy and your Holy Grail quest with the Doric contribution of the discovery of the Logos, the real original Natural Law.

Anonymous said...

W,

I don't think people want you to leave, since we are all truth-seekers here. I think that you do come off as a little fanatical, and that is certainly off-putting.

I don't personally have the expertise to engage you, though I would very much enjoy seeing one of the more regular posters with far more knowledge than myself do so.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

You have a major problem with your Natural Moral Law theory.

As is quoted from Mark Levine about the "Natural Law" and America, it shows a great discrepancy and inconsistency with the Natural Law Field!

The Spartan Republic is built according to the Natural Law. Sparta had a True Republic. A Republic is a form of government built on the principles of the Natural Law. It is a state "according to nature" (kata physin).

America is a pseudo-republic, a Novus Ordo. A "novos ordo" has nothing to do with the Natural Law. The Old Order, Christendom, is built according to the Natural Law.

This is the discrepancy and a sign of the total failure of your field. Sparta is built on the Natural Law and is far different from America, a Novus Ordo. Then, to have Mark Levine say that America is based on the Natural Law and he is referring to YOUR conception of the Natural Law, the question arises, If your so-called Natural Moral Law built America why is America so different from Sparta. See, you butt up against Paramenides principle of non-contradiction. Philosophy, which is the Logos, doesn't stand for contradictions in language. The Logos=Logic. It is logyia, logical that there is consistency and NOT contradiction.

If your so-called "Natural(moral) Law" built America and it is far removed from Sparta which is built on the Natural Law---something is wrong! Even your so-called "Natural Moral Law" is not "according to nature"!!!!! Your Natural Moral Law must as well be in tune with the real, original Natural Law!!! And when Catholic Natural Law professors sit there and write how America is built on the Natural Law, You have a serious problem of contradicition!

Pythagoras and Thales were educated on Doric Crete. Socrates and Plato were both philodorians. Socratic/Platonic philosophy is Dorian! Heraclitus, with his mention of Apollo, got his philosophy from the Dorians as well! All of them were connected to the Dorians. The Dorians of Crete and Laconia had true republics. They discovered the real, original Natural Law.

Your so-called Natural Moral Law can not counterdict the real original Natural Law. You've got a serious problem. Your so-called Natural Moral Law is heavily flawed. You have errors. And why is that? Partially because Classical Studies have been so corrupted! There has been no right understanding. Errors in Classical Studies has lead to your errors as well. You can not build your so-called Natural Moral Law without the real, original Natural Law.

You must understand what a True Republic is, in order to understand what the True, real, original Natural Law is: The Spartan Republic. All the classical dictionaries and encyclopaedias for the last 100 years is wrong! It has now been corrected. Now, your field must be corrected.

Glenn said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

One dictionary defines 'referent' as both "something referred to" and "something which refers", while another dictionary defines it as "one that refers or is referred to".

Now, the first dictionary referred to defines 'number' as "a symbol or word used to represent a number", while the second dictionary referred to defines it similarly as "a word, symbol, letter or combination of symbols representing a number.

Thus, and notwithstanding the existence of other definitions for each of the four cases, it is clear that a number is both a referent and a referent. (Or, so as not to risk incurring the wrath of Parmenides, let it be said instead that sometimes a number is a referent, and at other times it is a referent.)

In the unlikely event that this may seem confusing to you, let us attempt to unravel it.

Ere we do this, however, it may be a good idea to first understand what 'unravel' means. 'Un' is a prefix, and means 'opposite'. This being so, it stands to reason that the meaning of 'unravel' is the opposite of the meaning of 'ravel'. So, what does 'ravel' mean?

Well, let's change the order of things, shall we? The second dictionary defines it both as "to undo the intricacies of; disentangle" and "entangle, confuse", while the first dictionary defines it both as "to clarify by separating the aspects of" and "to tangle or complicate". Recalling that 'un' is a prefix, and means 'opposite', the meaning of 'unravel' should now be clear.

Uh-huh.

Yes, I am having some fun at your expense--but with a serious point.

And the serious point is that while it can get confusing if one looks too closely at the definitions--and considers them out of context--most rational people have little difficulty inferring from their context the applicable sense/meaning/definition of particular terms such as 'referent', 'number' and 'ravel'. It happens virtually automatically.

Similar thing takes place when the term "natural law" is in use. And since you're the first person in 2200 years to have stumbled by chance upon the so-called buried, Doric meaning of the term 'natural law', it is reasonably and rightly considered to be unlikely that a reader will misinfer from its context the intended sense/meaning/definition of the term.

Your complaint, however, seems to be that if 'natural law' is to be used in a non-Doric sense, that it should be qualified as, e.g.,'natural moral law'. But, again, the context does the qualification.

Besides, you elsewhere say that dikaios is specialization, as well as righteousness, and that specialization is a reflection of righteousness, thus a reflection of the Doric natural law. So, by your own logic, usage of the term 'natural law' in a specialized, non-Doric sense is a righteous reflection of the Doric natural law--or at least that aspect of it having to do with macrocosm/microcosm.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I'm reminded of the lyric "You got egg on your face, you're a big disgrace...." I'm not the one who has followed nihilists. If you follow nihilists, you deserve to get burned. There is no such thing as the "Doric meaning of the term 'natural law'. Nor is there a 'Doric natural law'. If you remember the quote, Xenophon says, "Nature willing teaches righteousness". What does that have to do with the Dorians? Except the Dorians are the ones that recognized that in nature and used it! That is why they had a professional army--due to righteousness. So if it is pulled from nature--it then is a Natural Law or Law of Nature.

Regardless of who discovered it, Martians, or Indians, or Asians, or Papau New Guineans. Righteousness exists in nature without the Dorians ever being there. Righteousness always existed in nature. It is a blessing that the Dorians discovered it. The problem is that Catholic Natural Law Teachers who are consumed with reading, never looked at nature and saw it! You all are teachers of the Natural Law but you have never seen it! Wow. I'm impressed. Who has the egg on their face? Xenophon says "Nature willingly teaches....". Nature Teaches. St. Paul also uses that phrase, "What does Nature Teach".

I admit that I am dumber than you because your post went over my head and I don't get it whatsoever. Just more attempts to slide out from a difficulty. More of this Catholic "straining the gnat" and "gaming the system". You are more certainly learned in academicese.

You have never heard of righteousness and that quote from Xenophon until I posted of it. So I just might be the only person that knows it because you people are clueless. And certainly no Catholic has refuted George Boaz and his deconstruction of the natural law of macrocosm/microcosm since we all know that the Catholics are at the forefront of the natural law--no one bothered to refute his sorry contentions! No Catholic has ever uncovered the true definition of a republic but are quite contented in upholding a pseudo-republic! You guys are slipping.

Please Glen, Besides, you elsewhere say that dikaios is specialization, as well as righteousness, and that specialization is a reflection of righteousness, thus a reflection of the Doric natural law. No. there is no "reflection". Righteousness exists in Nature. It is everywhere, especially exhibited in the human face. Righteousness in the human face is not Dorian. It is the Logos.

Heraclitus is not Dorian but he was taught by Dorians and their religion. It is he who said, "The Logos is that which steers nature from within". (paraphrase). That is the Natural Law, it has nothing to do with the Dorians.

There is no context to the Catholic conception of your "pseudo-Natural Law" because I have met plenty of Catholics who have a flippant attitude towards Nature. For them the only ""Law"" is survival of the fittest and so they condemn outright all things in Nature! Like that lady above whom I quoted, "At the heart of all Catholic teaching is the natural law–not to be confused with the laws of nature." That is the common sentiment of all Catholics. I have heard that over and over. How can you have your 'context' when you dismiss the Laws of Nature and you don't even know them! NOR POST THEM. Please Michael and Glenn, Please Post these Laws of Nature! Point and/or reference which Catholic book, article, encyclopaedic entry that posts these "Laws of Nature"! You can't because you are IGNORANT of them. And if you are ignorant of them, and your conception denies any other meaning of the natural law, you can't have 'context'!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Catholics define the Natural Law as reasoning. Here is a typical sentence on their conception of the Natural Law:
Quote:
"Through the use of reason, man can attain a knowledge of God through natural theology, a knowledge of good through the natural law, and can attain sufficient knowledge so as to guide him even up to the threshold of the Christian Trinitarian and Incarnational Faith. While reason cannot take one beyond Faith's threshold into the bosom of the Church--that requires Faith a gift of God and is a product of Grace--reason can be used as a means to determine which religions are unreasonable and therefore do not merit belief. As Fiore puts it, "Calderón demonstrates that man can know God through natural reason's observance of the governance of things--the natural law." (from Pedro Calderon and Natural Law)

This is NOT the Natural Law. The Natural Law is not reason. My answer is of course, everybody has reasons. Catholics have their "reasonings", Socialists have their "reasonings", Atheists have their "reasonings". But none of it is the same.

The Natural Law is the Reason FOUND in Nature, FOUND in the Natural Order, and man uses that as a basis for his thought, his beginnings in reason. Man's reason is first predicated upon the laws and principles found in the Natural Order.

Quote:
"When nature supplies the reason, writes Cicero, then does it supply right reason, therefore also the law, which right reason would command or forbid. But when law, so also is it just."(11) (From Shubert on Augustine Part #10)

"Nature supplies the reason". This is what is meant by Philosophy. This is synonymous with "What does nature teach"! And this is the grand difference between what the Ancients meant by the Natural Law and what the Catholic Church preaches about "reason being the Natural Law"!

This is the real kicker! The Doric Greeks did not "think up out of thin air" their laws. Ideology is. Sophia is not either.

Quote:
"From this law is every other law predicated, Cicero was a philodorian. Cicero was repeating Doric teaching. The law is the Logos, the real, original Natural Law. Human reasoning to be right reason must be based on the Laws of Nature which is the Logos.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

"From this law is every other law predicated"

This is Cicero.

What is being broken here is the Principle of Identity! That is what the problem is Glen. If you have to have 'context' it is not honest and straightforward nor is it readably indentifiable. If I yell "Fire", must you have context to understand that? If I yell rabid dog, do you wait for context? Life and Death demands quick identification. If one waits for context, and context is not always clearcut, one dies. Context is not Scientific. Philosophy is a Science. Not the art of quibbling nor is Philosophy the art of gaming the system which is rampant in Catholicism.

Philosophy demands the Principle of Identity. The Principle of Identity is predicated upon the Natural Law of Righteousness. As all things in the cosmos are constructed to do one thing, So Man's words, in order to fit reality, (Truth being a FAITHFUL Representation of reality) must be specialized in order to fit reality. Words must have Righteousness, specificity. All Sciences have that. The Catholic theory of the Natural Law does NOT cover the laws of nature such as righteousness. It ONLY concerns itself with Morality. Nowhere in the Catholic Natural Moral Law is the Laws of the Cosmos. Nowhere in Catholic literature is the real original natural law posted or acknowledged.

How can you "predicate" if you don't have the basis in the first place. Do the Catholics have the real, original Natural Law? Without that, you can't "predicate".

Second, the Stoics got their idea of the natural law is from Socrates and Plato and Plato got that idea from the Dorians. When the Stoics got to it, they redefined the natural law to fit their ideology. They changed it.

The Real, original natural law was purposely hidden by a new definition of it which was given it by the Stoics.

Just like a person can not serve two masters, a word can not serve two masters. Your theory of the natural law has no room for the real, original Natural Law. The history of the Catholic theory never had any room nor taught any of the real original natural law. There was no context in the last 400 years of Catholics writing on the Natural Law for it never talked on the Laws of Nature.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Your whole theory of your "Natural Moral Law" is a "predication", but in Dr. Feser's post, he does predicate his reasoning upon teleology which is taught by Nature. Nature teaches teleology. That is only one law. Teleology is not the "Natural Moral Law". Teleology concerns itself with the WHOLE of Nature. All of nature has a teleology, not just human morality! Teleology is a Natural Law that covers the whole of the cosmos. But where is the rest of the Natural Laws? Where are they posted.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

If you would have posted your last paragraph, and only your last paragraph, it would have been sufficient to get your point across. Instead it seems like you are spamming the combox with pre-written pieces from elsewhere.

You have sympathizers here, especially Dr. Feser. I'm sure he can't tell you the countless times he sees people read in anachronistic definitions of key philosophical terms in Aquinas' Five Ways.

But although that is a common problem, your solution of whoever coined the term first does not follow the original natural law. The symbols used sometimes undergo changes; it's just how it is. As long as both meanings are respected within their given context I see no problem just as I see no problem with the word "bank" having multiple meanings.

And if you can't speak the language of your contemporaries, what good is your word?

Michael said...

Also, I might stress that I am not giving up on my previous line of thought, namely, that natural law as used in Catholic morality has ties to the original natural law that you rant about.

It is a legitimate development that does not deny the concept of the original natural law that you speak of.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I'm being a little too harsh. that natural law as used in Catholic morality has ties to the original natural law that you rant about. Yes, you are right; sprinkled throughout Plato and Aristotle is the Natural Law. Their reasonings are predicated upon the Natural Law and thru Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy, the Church always had this. But, the Natural Law has never really been separated out and clearly defined.

Things need to be separated and more clarification. No science exists without classification and distinctions. You are taking a species of Natural Law and have made it into the Genus. This is the error in the Natural Law field as it now stands. The Natural Moral Law that you talk about is a category within the Natural Law Science. Morality is NOT the sum-total of the field.

The Sum-Total of the Natural Law is the Natural Law itself----in its purity!! The Natural Law must stand by ITSELF. The Natural Law must stand as itself without the Predicates overwhelming it! Yes, morality is the pet project of Catholics in the Natural Law but they can't let their pet project OVERWHELM the Science of the Natural Law.

Please be specific.

Well, it is time that specificity be entered into the Field. The Natural Law is a S-C-I-E-N-C-E.

We have got to end the confusion in the Natural Law Field. A is A. B is B. The Natural Law is the Natural Law. The Natural Law is NOT in essence morality! The Natural Law was built by the Logos to operate and guide the Natural Order. That is all it does. It is the reason FOUND in nature.

What then Catholics do is then they borrow, let's say teleology, and then apply the Natural Law of Teleology to the problem/question of private property. This is how it is supposed to work.

The only development in the Natural Law is the finding of more precepts and reasonings in Nature. You """apply""" it in many different ways. For instance, this "No man can serve two masters" comes from the Logos itself. It is from the Horse's mouth. Adding that to the List is a development. How you apply it is not a development. You can apply the natural law to morality all day long but **you can't name the moral reasonings as "The Natural Law".** Your field must be renamed to classify a sub-field, a species of the Natural Law.

As outgrowth, Michael, it is up to you TO CLASSIFY the development from the Original! Natural Law is the Genus; the moral reasonings that the Catholic "Natural Law" field is engaging in is a """species""" of the field but not the sum total. This is the error. As development grows, the developments can NOT usurp the Queen, i.e. the real, original Natural Law.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

And to clarify the history of the Natural Law. When reading books about the Natural Law, these professors look to where there were instances of the phrase. Here is a section from my book/research that explains what happened in history:

"After mentioning places where Plato uses the term 'law of nature', he writes of the corresponding instance in Aristotle, "Closely allied terms occur in the Aristotelian texts at De Caelo 268 a 10, where the order of beginning, middle, and end is referred to as one of the 'laws of nature';…. (pg 136) Here is the quote from De Caelo:

"For, as the Pythagoreans say, the world and all that is in it is determined by the number three, since beginning and middle and end give the number of an 'all', and the number they give is the triad. And so, having taken these three from nature as (so to speak) laws of it…" (McKeon, De Caelo 268 10)

So here a specific law of nature is referred to as a 'law of nature'. Interestingly, going to that reference refers you to where it is used by Plato! But Plato does NOT use the phrase 'law of nature', he uses another term to label that law:

"My friends! This is what I would say to them-God, who as the old saw has it, holds in his hands beginning, end, and middle of all that is, moves through the cycle of nature, straight to his end, and ever at his side walks right, the justicer of them that forsake God's law." (715 e)

Notice the phrase 'the old saw'? Whereas Aristotle uses the term 'law of nature', Plato refers to this as 'the old saw'. This is the other half of the puzzle! The 'old saw' can also be referred to as 'apophthegms', 'adage', 'proverbs', 'maxims', etc. Ancient Wisdom was composed in apophthegms! They were not labeled with the phrase 'law of nature'! Everybody is looking in the wrong direction and looking at the wrong philology! Plato makes a point about God be recalling an 'old saw'; some thirty or so years later, Aristotle uses the same maxim but calls it a 'law of nature'. Was it a 'law of nature' when Plato used it? Most certainly!


Many people don't realize that in the beginning, the teachings of nature were composed in proverbs. It was only much later that the term "laws of nature" and "natural law" were conjoined with the concepts.

The real, original Natural Law is hidden in Proverbs, adages, 'old saws'.

----
I have not finished my book nor is it likely. I don't have access to a library nor skilled in writing a professional academic book of this scope. If anyone wants an unfinished copy of it, or wants to continue it or flesh it out I will send you a copy. My email is wheelerplatsis(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Michael said...

"No science exists without classification and distinctions. You are taking a species of Natural Law and have made it into the Genus."

Absolutely not. I am not confusing the concepts involved and I am not forgetting the place of final causality within the order of the cosmos, let alone that which applies to human nature specifically.

The point at issue is whether words can refer to more than one reality given different contexts and whether or not it was morally licit for such developments to take place with regards to the symbols "natural law".

Take the word "bank". What if the definition of mound of dirt came before the other definition of financial building, or visa versa. Should one go around and say that you are all abusing the word "bank" and you should all return to the "original bank"? That you are confusing people who don't know any better?

In actuality, no one is trying to play a trick on you and no one is trying to substitute one definition for another. All that is needed is the proper education to know the different contexts and definitions. Changing definitions and multiple definitions over the development of culture and through different cultures is a fact of life.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Yes. I understand that.

But you also got to understand that the English language is not the most precise language in the world. There is a difference between the Greek language and the English language. The Greek language is much more precise than English. You have to take that into consideration!

Second, your word "bank" is not a scientific term relating to a specific science or of an item of importance. I don't disagree that bank has several meanings because the word is of little significance. It relates to physical objects. It has no import in the Metaphysical World. The terms 'philosophy', 'republic', and 'natural law' is not in the same league as 'bank'. Furthermore, your illustration of 'bank' is not a classical term.

I acknowledge the growth of language but in all your posts Michael you have not answered or posted on the impact changes in words have in Classical Studies. I see the World and history as a whole. May I suggest that your focus is solely on modern times? My concern is Classical Studies. The Present is connected to the Past, the changes in the language have damaged the understanding of Classical Antiquity!

When you have your "changing and multiple definitions", (First) is the Catholic Academics in the field making that distinction and (Second) how do you handle of going back into Classical Studies?

With my problems with editiing and getting the right info out there at Wikipedia, I was forced to add the adjective "classical" to differentiate it from modern meanings; for instance, "Classical definition of republic", "Classical definition of philosophy", Classical definition of the natural law". Are you not to label the "context"?

Michael, As has been noted in this thread, the development in language has harmed Classical Studies and how do people know what they are reading.

Michael, do you acknowledge that some people hate Western Culture? That hate drives? That hatred is used to drive obscurantism? Some people have such a hatred of Sparta that they go out of their way to demean. For instance, all forms of hierarchy are now labelled 'oppresion'. Even in classical times many people had a hatred of Sparta. They changed the meaning of words to purposely hide stuff!

Another thing, Michael, if your a philologist, you must be aware that people do change the language for revolutionary purposes! Should Catholics go along with revolutionary changes in language or should Catholics fight back and uphold Traditional meanings? Part of Revolution is the changing of language! Antonio Gramsci pointed that out in "Culture defines Politics" and language forms a part of culture.

Whether you call it the Modern natural law or the Stoic Natural Law, your context has to be labelled. On top of that, the Real, Original Natural Law has to be restored and taught.

My opinion. Metaphysical terms can NOT be changed. If you change metaphysical terms, one changes one's culture and civilization. The terms 'philosophy', 'republic' and 'natural law' can NOT be changed because they were defined ONE way in their own culture 2000 years ago and revolutionaries sought to destroy the patrimony. Changing those terms---steals away meaning from our anscestors and forefathers. If people want to change metaphysical terms, then they must put an adjective in front of it! That has to be a requirement. I require that Catholic Academics that deal with their search for a moral law in human nature use different nomenclature or a modified nomenclature to differentiate it from the original. Otherwise, harm is done. Harm has been done. Great damage has occured.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Michael, Are there different definitions of biology? differen definitions of chemistry? are there different definitions of the term physics?

In the phsycial sciences there is not much wriggle room. They don't have a problem with language.

The problem is with metaphysical terms since they have an impact on humans. Metaphysical terms can not be redefined without causing damage.

Glenn said...

W,

1. There is no such thing as the "Doric meaning of the term 'natural law'. Nor is there a 'Doric natural law'.

Found on your wiki page: The Reconstitution of the Real Original Natural Law (or Laws of Nature or Logos) that the Doric Greeks discovered.

If the Doric Greeks discovered the natural law, then it is not inaccurate, inappropriate or improper to refer to 'Doric natural law'.

2. Regardless of who discovered it...

I agree: (assuming) they discovered it doesn't make it theirs, give them a monopoly on it, or indicate that their perception of it was either complete or without flaw.

3. Please Glen, "Besides, you elsewhere say that dikaios is specialization, as well as righteousness, and that specialization is a reflection of righteousness, thus a reflection of the Doric natural law." No. there is no 'reflection'.

It is true, you did not speak specifically in terms of 'reflection', but something else:

In the system of macrocosm/microcosm, at every level of nature, righteousness is mirrored in one after another...

My apologies for having, apparently, misunderstood what you wrote.

4. I admit that I am dumber than you because your post went over my head and I don't get it whatsoever. Just more attempts to slide out from a difficulty. More of this Catholic "straining the gnat" and "gaming the system". You are more certainly learned in academicese.

I can get why some things, or talk about certain things (or even a certain way of talking about some things), may be frustrating for you. But here's the thing: if you don't know what others are talking about, what justifies your claiming that they don't know what they're talking about (or that they're "gaming the system")?

o To those who do not understand what is here set down, my answer is, that I am not to be blamed for their want of understanding. -- Augustine

Surely you don't mean to suggest that the speech of others be limited to what you're capable of understanding?

5. I require that Catholic Academics that deal with their search for a moral law in human nature use different nomenclature or a modified nomenclature to differentiate it from the original.

What original moral law are you talking about? The one that had Heraclitus cover himself in cow dung on the premise, sound in his mind, that his dropsy thereby would be alleviated?

6. The real, original Natural Law is hidden in Proverbs, adages, 'old saws'.

Poor Parmenides--he'd likely have a fit over these:

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Prov. 26:4-5

Glenn said...

"Through the use of reason, man can attain a knowledge of God through natural theology, a knowledge of good through the natural law, and can attain sufficient knowledge so as to guide him even up to the threshold of the Christian Trinitarian and Incarnational Faith. While reason cannot take one beyond Faith's threshold into the bosom of the Church--that requires Faith a gift of God and is a product of Grace--reason can be used as a means to determine which religions are unreasonable and therefore do not merit belief. As Fiore puts it, "Calderón demonstrates that man can know God through natural reason's observance of the governance of things--the natural law." (from Pedro Calderon and Natural Law)

This is NOT the Natural Law. The Natural Law is not reason. [blah, blah, blah]


Yet another fulmination over something you fail to understand.

The passage quoted does not say that natural law is reason, but that a knowledge of good through the natural law can be attained through the use of reason.

There are at least four things there: good, a knowledge of good, natural law, and reason.

And what's being said is just this: using reason one can discern natural law, and, through the discernment of natural law, ascend to a knowledge of good.

What are you using in lieu of reason?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

This is for Michael. Dr. Paul A. Rahe found this quote from Machiavelli:

"He who desires or wishes to reform the condition of a city and wishes that it be accepted and that it be able to maintain itself to everyone's satisfaction is forced to retain at least the shadow of ancient modes so that it might seem to the people that order has not changed—though, in fact, the new orders are completely alien to those of the past. For the universality of men feed as much on appearance as on reality: indeed, in many cases, they are moved more by the things which seem than by those which are....And this much should be observed by all who wish to eliminate an ancient way of life (un antico vivere) in a city and reduce it to a new and free way of life (ridurla a uno vivere nuovo e libero): one ought, since new things alter the minds of men, to see to it that these alterations retain as much as the ancient as possible; and if the magistrates change from those of old in number, authority, and term of office, they ought at least retain the name. (kudos to Prof. Paul Rahe for finding this quote.)

Here is the modus operandi of the so-called Enlightenment. This is called Revolution within the form. The Form is used but the underlying premises or definitions have been changed.

After knowing this, how do you approach language and meaning? The Spartans quite wisely stated "There is NO soothfast art in speech". Nobody should trust modern books. As Catholics, you have to be ON GUARD. Deceivement enters through language. I am very leery of what is promoted. I ask you Michael, in the face of revolutionary deception in language how does this affect so-called developement--is there development or dissolution?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Here is another quote:

"For the American colonists, the natural law justified the Revolution against the established and otherwise legitimate authority of King George III. It justified the foundations of our new government under the Articles of Confederation and, later, the Constitution. For the founders of our republican and democratic form of government, the natural moral law pre-existed the foundation of our Government, was the basis of that Government, and defined both the duties and the limits of that Government." (from The Natural Law as the US Constitutions ghost)

If you call something a "Novus Ordo Secularum" how in anybody's name can you say that it is based on the Natural Law when the Old Order that the Novus Ordo replaces is based on the Natural Law? Is there any LOGIC out there? Do Aliens really run this planet? Are the real parents of George Bush II, Martians?

If the FFofA purposely rejected the Old Order that has been since time immemorial, how then can they be following the Natural Law? How is it that the Natural Moral Law nullifies the Natural law? How does something counterdict itself?

If all the Old countries of Europe developed "au naturale", where they not formed, unconsciously, around the Natural Law? Is this not called the Natural Organic Theory of the State? If the Old Order was Organic and Natural---thus meaning the Natural Law was involved upon its making (Unconsciously, of course), how is the Novus Order, Planned out of thin air from the minds of men, be following the natural Law? Can someone out there more smarter than I point out to me where I am going wrong. Did they not seat "Reason" at the Notre Dame Cathedral's Altar as ruler and please tell me how they have come to have FIVE (5) republics? What Reason?

(posted earlier and an excerpt from the thread at Sparta journal forum.)

As you can tell, we have a problem. A Major problem.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Now, in answer to you Glenn, this is an excerpt from a thread at Sparta Journal forum:

The FFofA borrowed heavily from Hugo Grotius who said:
Quote:
The law of nature [said Grotius] is a dictate of right reason which points out that an act, according as it is or is not in conformity with rational nature, has in it a quality of moral baseness or moral necessity; and that, in consequence, such an act is either forbidden or enjoined by the author of nature, God.


The Law of Nature is NOT the dictate of right reason. The Laws of Nature are those principles/laws/maxims that form, build, maintain the Natural Order. It is the Logos hidden within the Natural Order. That is the definition. "Right" reason is when Human Reasoning is PREDICATED upon the logos that built the Natural Order. "Right" reason is when Human reasoning BORROWS the logos, the Wisdom that built the Natural Order. (end of excerpt)

W.LindsayWheeler said...

(Another excerpt)

In the article "The Spartan Republic", I said this:

"The Doric Greeks, being a very philosophical people, copied the paradigm of mixed government from the Natural/Temporal Order and applied it to the formation of their city-states."

I guess I'm a bloody idiot because I just found where Plato says this:

"...that a city established on principles of nature would be wise as a whole". (Republic, Paul Shorey translation in Hamilton's Collected Dialogues, 428, e)

"And so by reason of the smallest part or class, and of the knowledge which resides in this presiding and ruling part of itself, the whole State, being thus constituted according to nature, will be wise; and this, which has the only knowledge to be called wisdom, has been ordained by nature to be of all classes the least." (Republic, B. Jowett translation, 429)

(There is a difference in sections. In Hamilton it is the last sentence in 428 and in Jowett it is several sentences into 429.)

Hear that? "a city established on principles of nature". oooh-oooh. If you take the principles of nature, what are you? a philo-sophier.

Why did Plato hate democracy? for it was unrighteous, adikia. All democracies fall into tryanny. What are the principles of Nature? Does anybody know?
(End of excerpt)

Plato's Republic is taken from the Cretans and the Spartans. Tell me how can the Natural Moral Law counterdict and countermand the real, original Natural Law?

Glenn said...

I'll repeat my last question to you:

What are you using in lieu of reason?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Human reasoning off the bat is flawed.

Humans must predicate their reasoning upon the Divine Reasoning found in Nature, i.e. the Logos. Humans borrow the Logos hidden in Nature.

Glenn said...

Humans must predicate their reasoning upon the Divine Reasoning found in Nature, i.e. the Logos. Humans borrow the Logos hidden in Nature.

Can you provide a simple example of how you, personally, have "borrow[ed] the Logos hidden in Nature"?

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

"My concern is Classical Studies. The Present is connected to the Past, the changes in the language have damaged the understanding of Classical Antiquity!"

Again, Dr. Feser and others have a great deal of trouble dealing with contemporaries anachronistically reading modern and post-modern philosophical notions back into Aquinas' arguments.

Let's get back to basics: I'm not so sure I see the precise difference between a medieval conception of natural law versus an Ancient Greek conception.

Can you speak my language by offering a definition of the 'original natural law' using genus and specific difference?

And no, you may not suggest that my concern is merely "modern" whether you mean by that contemporary culture or that period of the history of philosophy so named.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Glenn, throughout this thread, my use of the Principle of Identity is based on the natural law of righteousness. That there is only one definition of the natural law is also based on the natural law of righteousness. The principle of consistency that I am constantly referring to is a corollary to the Natural Law of Macrocosm/microcosm.

I judge people's responses, like Socrates has done, to see if they are consistent. In every sphere, the same thing occurs; that is the principle of consistency which is based on macrocosm/microcosm.

In my personal life, I do not take on many things since one can only concentrate on one thing at a time due to the Natural Law of righteousness. Politically, I'm a monarchist due to the fact that "The Rule of One is best". I uphold the Old Order because the Old Order was built on the Natural Law.

In many things I do, I observe due proportion, and/or the Golden Mean. Nothing too much. I don't do things to the extreme.

The whole of the Socratic Elanchus is predicated on the Natural Law and I use the elanchus in my discussions.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Glenn, I've got a story for you.

I've had a personal experience with it.

I lived in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland for a summer and I helped a farmer make hay by hand, with a scythe. Four hours every morning, we would cut the hay and in the afternoon we would go to past cuttings and turn it over which took anywhere from four to six days to dry. After the hay was dried, we would pack it into rope nets that when done looked like a huge straw wheel that stood about 3.5 feet high and about 18 inches thick. Then, we would roll it up the next retaining wall and lean it onto our backs and hike it through the village to his cable system. I spent four months doing this.

I would go across in his cable car, 800 ft above the stream/valley floor to his farm. Then, he would send his bales across. I'd unload them. And then roll them into his hay loft and empty the rope nets and then spend an half an hour stomping the hay down.

One day we came to a field and I blurted out, "Let's pick this up"! He said, "It's not ready". And I asked "Why?". He explained that if the hay is too green, it would rot in the barn. Just a little, and the rot would spread throughout the hay destroying it all. (He was dirt poor, did not own a vehicle, and had no way to buy hay or bring it in during the winter, since there was no road to his house.) He coninued, that if the hay was left outside too long in the sun, the sun would cook out the nutrients in the hay making it worthless.

And then it hit me.

He was talking about the Golden Mean and he didn't even know what he was talking about.

My previous reading of Catholic literature on virtue and what it was, based on the golden mean, gave me the concept that when I met it, I recognized it.

Hay, in order to be good, had to be in the Golden Mean--not too wet and not too dry. It is carved on the Temple at Delphi, "Nothing too much". He actually used the words "too dry" and "too wet". I also immediately recognized that he was not even cognizant of what he just said.

I just recieved my introduction to the real, original Natural Law. All things are in the Golden Mean. The Good, the Truth, and the Beautiful, all exist in the Golden Mean. The Trinity is in the Golden Mean. As Apostolos Makrakis pointed out, the Trinity is the middle (the mean) between the strict monotheism of the Semites and the polytheism of the gentiles. The Trinity is the Golden Mean. Jesus Christ is the Golden Mean himself; the mean between God and Man.

On the mountainside in Ticino, up in the Italian Swiss Alps, above the shrine to the Madonna Del Sasso, I learned the Natural Law and the Golden Mean. Life existed in the Golden Mean for this farmer. If the hay was too dry, the nutrients would be cooked out, the cows would get sick and then his boys who drank the milk would not be healthy. If too wet, the hay would rot in the barn. His life and his family's life depended on the scientific application of the Golden Mean, yet he was not even cognizant of what he was doing.

I just had a class in the Natural Law. It was one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. I worked for room and board and 100 Swiss francs for four months. On top of that, I got an education as to "What does Nature teach". I earned my degree in the Natural Law.

The Dorians were a mountain people who first resided in the mountains around Mt. Olympus. As farmers originally and the need to make hay for winter, the Dorians would have recognized this. The scythe was an emblem of award in Sparta in which Sparta was a huge grain growing community. The saying on the walls of Delphi, "Nothing too much" is the embodiement of the Golden Mean.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

All of Spartan culture and civilization was built around the Golden Mean.

And that is what a Classical Republic is, The Golden Mean. The Golden Mean between Oriental Monarchical Despotism and the ochlocracy of democracy.

This is why Socrates and Plato both hated democracy.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

To Michael.

Genus. The Natural Law or Laws of Nature is the reason steering nature from within, i.e. The Logos. The Natural Law is the principles/maxims/laws that guide, build, run the cosmos. The Natural Law is the 'politeia' (constitution) of the cosmos.

Species. The Natural Moral Law is the principles and laws that guide human action and morality.


(But my personal opinion and my gut feeling is that there is no such thing as a "Natural Moral Law" and that "justice" is a sentiment that is inbuilt in humans. All humans have a conscience and a sense of justice and being affronted. But is there laws and principles embeded in human nature? I don't know. As animals have instinct, humans have a sense of justice. In some regards, humans also have instincts, drives just like animals do. But a Natural Moral Law? This is my personal opinion and for me, I think you guys are on a wild goose chase. That is why we have Divine Revelation. Furthermore, unlike the rest of creation, humans are damaged material with original sin. How does that harm our cognition of what is natural? I don't know.

What I do know, is the real, original natural law. That I do know for a certainty. Your natural moral law, that, I am not certain. Maybe a Natural Moral Sentiment, but not a natural moral law. That is my two cents.)

W.LindsayWheeler said...

"The Declaration of Independence established the new nation on the foundation of natural law, justifying its very independence by an appeal to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." Thomas Jefferson would later claim no originality for the language and ideas of the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, he would state quite rightly that its authority rested in the fact that the Declaration of Independence was "an expression of the American mind, . . . the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc." 3 The authors cited by Jefferson were not chosen haphazardly. They reflect the twin sources of the Declaration of Independence and, later, the Constitution: the unique legacy of English liberty, stretching back to Magna Carta and beyond, and the common European heritage of Greece and Rome. 4

No part of that common heritage has been more influential than the idea of natural law. Our exploration of this heritage will take us over the course of a millennium, from the intellectual revolution of Athens in the fifth century."
(from: Common Truths: New Perspectives on Natural Law. Contributors: Edward B. McLean - editor, ISI Publishers, Wilmington, DE., 2000. 19-20.)

Somebody needs to be taken out and shot! Here is another proof positive, that you guys have no clue! You don't know what the natural law is.

Glenn said...

W,

Somebody needs to be taken out and shot! Here is another proof positive, that you guys have no clue! You don't know what the natural law is.

I see. And who should be 'shot'? Certain authors of Catholic literature on, say, virtue?

My previous reading of Catholic literature on virtue and what it was, based on the golden mean, gave me the concept that when I met it, I recognized it.

Secretly expressing gratitude for something Catholic, eh?
. . . . .

Here are seven example instantiations of the 'Golden Mean':

1. Pasta: don't overcook; don't undercook.
2. Driving: don't go too slow; don't go too fast.
3. Flowers: don't water too much; don't water too little.
4. Shaking hands: don't be limp; don't crush.
5. Normal conversation: don't shout; don't whisper.
6. Hot beverages: not cool; not scolding.
7. Screwing things together: not too tight; not too loose.

Example instantiations 8 through 9,364,521 are left to the reader's experience and/or imagination.

I'm not sure--the range is rather limited--but there may be room for: a) "not too subjective; not too objective"; and, b) "not overly emotional; not overly intellectual".

. . . . .

I appreciate your hay-farm story; thank you for relating it.

No doubt you're aware of this regarding Aquinas: "When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, 'I cannot go on.... All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.'"

NOw, I could be wrong, but I think this goes directly to your real complaint, the unarticulated one underlying all the articulated straw-dog complaints you've been railing against.

To put it another way, consider what JA had to say in another thread,

For Aquinas, there are relations. All things are really composites: of form and matter, neither of which exists on their own, but in a unity of distinctions through relation; of essence as the unity and relation of substance and accident; and of anything instantiated as the unity of existence and essence. To know about these relations that stand apart from us is to participate in them, not mirror the object in our minds.

If I were to be charged with coming up with a motto or slogan for you, I'd probably come up with something like this:

Life more is to be lived and experienced, and less to be thought and talked about.

'course, the 'Golden Mean' likely would apply here as well.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

The Church is not above the real, original Natural Law! She can not abrogate a single law or principle. Jesus Christ gave the Church the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven----NOT to the Cosmos.

No one can break the Natural Law. The Natural Law is Immutable. It stands forever!

You may commit adultery. You may steal all you want. You may piss on Christ. You may blaspheme God all you want. You may even sin against the Holy Spirit. You may covet, you may tell falsehoods.

But what you can't do---is break the Natural Law. The World is Perfect, the best of all worlds. But, God has also designed the Cosmos to take out fools. God and Nature do not suffer fools. Nature will kill you. She has no mercy! God has orderd Nature so.

NO ONE can break the Natural Law. God supercedes the Laws of Physics occasionaly with miracles but the Natural Law---Never.

The whole of the Natural Law is embodied in the Trinity.

The Church is not above the Natural Law. And the Church sadly is going to learn this lesson the hard way. Nature kills and God has ordained all who break her laws shall die.

God doesn't suffer fools. All the prayers, sacrifices and masses, won't help you. God will not pull your irons out of the coming fire. God only loves a Wise man, A Wise man who obeys the Logos in all of its manifestations. The Cosmos operates on Wisdom alone. Don't---Mess---With---Nature.

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

Thank you for answering my question about genus and species. However, it's not what I was quite asking. I was asking for a definition of the 'original natural law' and not a comparison with it to 'natural moral law' per se.

As an example, a human being is a rational animal. The genus is animal and the species, what differentiates it from the rest of the genus, is rationality.

Also, it's interesting that you mention moderation and virtue. I hope you know that such requires final causality and is in conformity with Catholic ethics. At this point in time I'm not all that concerned with you dropping the name natural law for Catholic morality as much as you seeing that 'original natural law' is the foundation of Catholic morality (which I believe is a seemless garment and is also the only true morality).

W.LindsayWheeler said...

In my definition of genus and species I was not making a comparison.

What I think the essence of your "Catholic Natural Moral Law" is that your trying to prove the validity of your morals through a secular way. (which is alright by me)

The Ten Commandments don't need proof. They are commanded.

Like Dr. Feser's argument on Private Property. To you, me, and Dr. Feser, private property is common sense. You don't have to prove that to me. What Dr. Feser is doing is proving private property through a law of nature of teleology in order to rebut the arguments of socialists and communists.

And what does private property have to do with Catholic ethics?

The real original natural law is NOT the foundation of Catholic morality. Virtue existed amongst the pagan Dorians without a Catholic around. Virtue is not the sole domain of Catholics.

What Dr. Feser was doing was pulling up the Natural Law of teleology as a secular reason to secure private property against a communist state from seizing private property.

Instead of using God and the Bible as the validation of morality, you are using a second secular route called the Original Natural Law to prove stuff to the secular world. You want to steal the natural law and claim it only does morality.

You have to keep the spheres apart! Morality is Morality. The Natural Law is the Natural Law. You may use the Natural Law to buttress the claims of Catholic Morality through a secular means but you can't subjugate the Natural Law to your Catholic Morality!

I feel like I'm in a "Free Willy" movie. "Free the Natural Law from Catholicism". The Natural Law stands by itself, Free and Clear.

Michael said...

W.LindsayWheeler,

"In my definition of genus and species I was not making a comparison."
Well, whatever you were doing wasn't what I was asking for; that's okay, I guess, but it's not all that helpful for me.

"The real original natural law is NOT the foundation of Catholic morality. Virtue existed amongst the pagan Dorians without a Catholic around. Virtue is not the sole domain of Catholics."

While you are correct that virtue is not the sole domain of Catholics, virtue is still part of morality simpliciter. And morality simpliciter is Catholic morality whether you like it or not as all of morality has the same One source. That some of the commands of Christ go beyond what we can know through reason alone through the natural law is besides the point. Whichever mode/origin is used to arrive at the truth still arrives at the truth.

"You want to steal the natural law and claim it only does morality."

Nope. I want to use the natural law and apply it to human agency.

"You have to keep the spheres apart! Morality is Morality. The Natural Law is the Natural Law. You may use the Natural Law to buttress the claims of Catholic Morality through a secular means but you can't subjugate the Natural Law to your Catholic Morality!"

The natural law is used to discover a large part of Catholic morality, though in principle such a part is discoverable by both Catholic and non-Catholic alike by reason.

"I feel like I'm in a "Free Willy" movie. "Free the Natural Law from Catholicism". The Natural Law stands by itself, Free and Clear."

I think you are missing something. There is nothing to free.