In this Book

By Nature Equal
summary

What do we mean when we refer to people as being equal by nature? In the first book devoted to human equality as a fact rather than as a social goal or a legal claim, John Coons and Patrick Brennan argue that even if people possess unequal talents or are born into unequal circumstances, all may still be equal if it is true that human nature provides them the same access to moral self-perfection. Plausibly, in the authors' view, such access stems from the power of individuals to achieve goodness simply by doing the best they can to discover and perform correct actions. If people enjoy the same degree of natural capacity to try, all of us are offered the same opportunities for moral self-fulfillment. To believe this is to believe in equality.

This truly interdisciplinary work not only proposes the authors' own rationale but also provides an effective deconstruction of several other contemporary theories of equality, while it engages historical, philosophical, and Christian accounts as well. Furthermore, by divorcing the "best" from the "brightest," it shows how descriptive equality acquires practical significance. Among other accomplishments, By Nature Equal offers communitarians a core principle that has until now eluded them, rescues human dignity from the hierarchy of intellect, identifies racism in a new way, and shows how justice can be freshly grounded in the conviction that every rational person has the same capacity for moral excellence.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-viii
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Acknowledgment and Apology
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
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  1. Foreword
  2. JOHN WITTE, JR.
  3. pp. xvii-xxvi
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  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. pp. 3-16
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  1. PART I
  2. pp. 17-18
  1. INTRODUCTION TO PART I
  2. pp. 19-21
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  1. 1. WHAT HAS BEEN SAID?
  2. pp. 22-38
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  1. 2. THE HOST PROPERTY
  2. pp. 39-65
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  1. 3. MAKING THE HOST PROPERTY UNIFORM
  2. pp. 66-90
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  1. PART II
  2. pp. 91-92
  1. INTRODUCTION TO PART II
  2. pp. 93-100
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  1. 4. COULD THE ENLIGHTENMENT BELIEVE? INDIVIDUALISM, KANT, AND EQUALITY
  2. pp. 101-122
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  1. 5. NATURE, NATURAL LAW, AND EQUALITY
  2. pp. 123-144
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  1. PART III
  2. pp. 145-146
  1. INTRODUCTION TO PART III
  2. pp. 147-147
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  1. 6. THE FRAMEWORK FOR A CHRISTIAN OBTENSIONALISM
  2. pp. 148-163
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  1. 7. REPAVING THE ROAD TO HELL:THE PELAGIAN ISSUES
  2. pp. 164-190
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  1. 8. THE REPAVING PROJECT, PART II: AN EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY CREATOR
  2. pp. 191-214
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  1. PART IV
  2. pp. 215-216
  1. INTRODUCTION TO PART IV
  2. pp. 217-217
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  1. 9. HARMONIES OF THE MORAL SPHERES
  2. pp. 218-231
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  1. 10. HARVESTS OF EQUALITY
  2. pp. 232-260
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  1. NOTES
  2. pp. 261-348
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  1. INDEX
  2. pp. 349-363
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