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Natural Law Modernized

by David Braybrooke

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political, ethics & moral philosophy, modern
list price: $84.00
also available: Paperback eBook
category: Philosophy
published: 2001

Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau are classic modern philosophers, widely consulted in matters of ethics and political theory. In this provocative study David Braybrooke challenges received scholarly opinion by arguing that these canonical theorists took St Thomas Aquinas as their point of reference, reinforcing rather than departing from his natural law theory.

The natural law theory of St Thomas Aquinas is essentially a secular theory, says Braybrooke. He argues that Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau share a core of thought that not only has roots in St Thomas but offers an alternative to other ethical theories now current. According to Braybrooke, this surviving and reinforced core qualifies as an ethical theory viable by the most sophisticated standards, meeting the main challenges of analytical metaethics, and thus standing up to the scrutiny that any ethical theory must undergo in contemporary philosophical discussions.

Braybrooke's study takes the reader into a rich and compelling intellectual universe, one in which medieval natural law theory, widely ignored as obsolete, survives robustly through the modern canon and into the third millennium.

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Editorial Reviews

'This is an important contribution to natural law studies.'

— Choice Magazine

'This is an interesting contribution to our understanding of the history of natural law theory ... It is refreshing to see someone who writes about the history of political thought in a "continuist" rather than "discontinuist" manner.'

— Political Studies
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About the Author

David Braybrooke

David Braybrooke was a professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University and holds the Centennial Commission Chair in the Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

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