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It’s for your own good: natural law and the good life

Playford, R. C. (2017) It’s for your own good: natural law and the good life. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

The goal of this thesis is to create a distinctively Aristotelian-Thomistic ethical schema. I shall do this in four stages. First, in chapter one, I am going to present a summary of Aristotelian metaphysics. I will present a slightly Thomistic take on Aristotelian metaphysics specifically when it comes to the distinction between accidental and substantial form. However, I will present a more classically Aristotelian account when it comes to the source of teleology. Along the way I will explore whether science can disprove any aspects of Aristotelian metaphysics. In particular, I will examine whether science can show that there are no final causes, and whether evolution poses problems for the Aristotelian concept of form and essence in biology. Second, in chapter two, I shall explain the nature of goodness within this metaphysical schema. I will also engage with competing accounts of the nature of goodness and will argue that my Aristotelian account is superior. Third, in chapter three, I will list and defend my account of the basic goods. I will also explain why certain things, such as pleasure and freedom, are not included in my list of the basic goods. I will then explain how and why they do fit into my schema. Finally, in chapter four, I will move onto duties. I will show how we can derive a list of pro tanto duties from the Aristotelian ethical schema. Along the way I will also briefly sketch out an account of human rights. My ethical theory will differ from many contemporary neo-Aristotelians in that it will place emphasis on, and smoothly follow from, Aristotelian metaphysics. At the same time, my ethical theory will differ from more traditional neo-Aristotelians and the medieval neo-Aristotelians in the way that it reconciles an Aristotelian ethical schema with a non-natural account of goodness and a reasons-based account of obligation.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Oderberg, D. and Stratton-Lake, P.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Philosophy
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:72079
Date on Title Page:2016

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