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The Perspective of the Acting Person

Essays in the Renewal of Thomistic Moral Philosophy

Martin Rhonheimer, William F. Murphy Jr., William F Murphy

Publication Year: 2008

The Perspective of the Acting Person introduces readers to one of the most important and provocative thinkers in contemporary moral philosophy

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-11

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pp. xi-13

I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Prof. Bill Murphy, for his conception and execution of this project, for his careful editing of the enclosed essays, and for his thoughtful introduction, which will not only help readers grasp their place in the context of my broader work...

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pp. xiii-xxxix

Over the past few decades, Swiss philosopher Martin Rhonheimer has developed an impressive body of work ranging from the most fundamental questions of ethical theory to more applied areas including political philosophy, sexual ethics, and biomedical ethics. His work provides one of the...

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1. Is Christian Morality Reasonable? On the Difference between Secular and Christian Humanism

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pp. 1-17

In his famous work “The Reasonableness of Christianity,” published in 1695,1 the British philosopher John Locke holds that in revealed Christian morality “as delivered in the Scriptures” there is nothing that cannot be grasped by human reason alone—unassisted by faith. He adds, however, that faith in...

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2. Norm-Ethics, Moral Rationality, and the Virtues: What’s Wrong with Consequentialism?

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pp. 18-36

According to a conviction that I share with many others, morality is accessible to a rational discourse, and offering a clear understanding of this basis is essential for both Christian ethics and moral theology. I wish to add that this is properly the task of the philosopher, whose work is presupposed...

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3. “Intrinsically Evil Acts” and the Moral Viewpoint: Clarifying a Central Teaching of Veritatis Splendor

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pp. 37-67

Many Catholic moral theologians have asserted during the last few years that to know what a person really does each time he or she is acting and, consequently, to qualify morally this concrete doing, one must take into account all the further goals for the sake of which this person chooses what he concretely...

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4. Intentional Actions and the Meaning of Object: A Reply to Richard McCormick

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pp. 68-94

In his article “Some Early Reactions to Veritatis Splendor,”1 Richard Mc- Cormick discusses my article on Veritatis Splendor and its teaching about intrinsically evil acts.2 He challenges my defense of the encyclical’s views and poses some concrete questions for me. At the same time, McCormick complains...

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5. Practical Reason and the “Naturally Rational”: On the Doctrine of the Natural Law as a Principle of Praxis in Thomas Aquinas

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pp. 95-128

The debate on the interpretation of the Thomistic doctrine of the lex naturalis that has been going on for the last thirty years has been driven by two things: first, a renewed interest in the specifically philosophical ethics of St. Thomas, and second, the attempt by moral theologians to make the idea...

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6. The Moral Significance of Pre-Rational Nature in Aquinas: A Reply to Jean Porter (and Stanley Hauerwas)

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pp. 129-157

In her review1 of my Natural Law and Practical Reason: A Thomist View of Moral Autonomy (hereafter referred to as NLPR), Jean Porter declines to offer a judgment about my “theory of natural law as a moral theory.” She doubts, however, that it is a valid reading of Aquinas. The difficulty, she says, lies in...

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7. The Cognitive Structure of the Natural Law and the Truth of Subjectivity

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pp. 158-194

In a book bearing the title Lex naturae, which was published almost half a century ago and became before Vatican Council II an obligatory work of reference, moral theologian Josef Fuchs presented a systematic exposition of the formulations of the Magisterium of the Church on the natural moral...

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8. The Perspective of the Acting Person and the Nature of Practical Reason: The “Object of the Human Act” inThomistic Anthropology of Action

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pp. 195-249

The passage in Veritatis Splendor no. 78 that clarifies the concept of the “object” of a human act is widely acknowledged as decisive for the central argument of the encyclical, which reaffirms “the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and...

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9. Practical Reason and the Truth of Subjectivity: The Self-Experience of the Moral Subject at the Roots of Metaphysics and Anthropology

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pp. 250-282

The fundamental question of every ethics has to do with the truth of subjectivity: is what I do, and what I think to be right and just, really right and just? And my conduct in general, as based on interior conviction—is it truly right and just? In more precise terms: what must I do or not do in order to be...

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10. Review of Jean Porter’s Nature as Reason: A Thomistic Theory of the Natural Law

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pp. 283-305

In her new book on natural law, which I have been invited to review,1 Jean Porter intends to “develop a theological account of the natural law which takes its starting points and orientation from the concept of the natural law developed by Scholastic jurists and theologians in the twelfth and thirteen centuries...


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pp. 307-316

Martin Rhonheimer’s Publications

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pp. 317-323


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pp. 325-329

Production Notes, Back Cover

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pp. 374-375

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216980
E-ISBN-10: 0813216982
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215112
Print-ISBN-10: 0813215110

Page Count: 373
Publication Year: 2008