The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction

Overview

The suicidal proclivity of our time, writes the acclaimed philosopher J. Budziszewski, is to deny the obvious. Our hearts are riddled with desires that oppose their deepest longings, because we demand to have happiness on terms that make happiness impossible. Why? And what can we do about it?

Budziszewski addresses these vital questions in his brilliantly persuasive new book, The Line Through the Heart. The answers can be discovered in an exploration of natural law—a venture ...

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The Line through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction

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Overview

The suicidal proclivity of our time, writes the acclaimed philosopher J. Budziszewski, is to deny the obvious. Our hearts are riddled with desires that oppose their deepest longings, because we demand to have happiness on terms that make happiness impossible. Why? And what can we do about it?

Budziszewski addresses these vital questions in his brilliantly persuasive new book, The Line Through the Heart. The answers can be discovered in an exploration of natural law—a venture that, with Budziszewski as our expert guide, takes us through politics, religion, ethics, law, philosophy, and more.

Natural law, the author states plainly but provocatively, is a fact about human beings; as surely as we have hands and feet, we have the foundational principles of good and evil woven into the fabric of our minds. From this elemental fact emerges a natural law theory that unfolds as part of a careful study of the human person. Thus, Budziszewski shows, natural law forms a common ground for humanity.

But this common ground is slippery. While natural law is truly an observable part of human nature, human beings are hell-bent—quite literally—on ignoring it. The mere mention of the obligations imposed on man by his nature will send him into a rage. In this sense, The Line Through the Heart explores natural law as not simply a fact and a theory but also a sign of contradiction.

While investigating the natural law and its implications, Budziszewski boldly confronts—and offers a newly integrated view of—a wide range of contemporary issues, including abortion, evolution, euthanasia, capital punishment, the courts, and the ersatz state religion being built in the name of religious toleration.

Written in Budziszewski’s usual crystalline style, The Line Through the Heart makes clear that natural law is a matter of concern not merely to scholars; it touches how each of us lives, and how all of us live together. His profoundly important examination of this subject helps us make sense of why habits that run against our nature have become second nature, and why our world seems to be going mad.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610170031
  • Publisher: ISI Books
  • Publication date: 5/15/2011
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 797,792
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


J. Budziszewski is professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas. He is the author of many books, including What We Can't Not Know: A Guide, The Revenge of Conscience, Evangelicals in the Public Square, and three books for young people about Christian faith
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Part I Moral Law

Chapter 1 Natural Law as Fact, as Theory, and as Sign of Contradiction 1

Chapter 2 The Second Tablet Project 23

Chapter 3 Nature Illuminated 41

Chapter 4 The Natural, the Connatural, and the Unnatural 61

Chapter 5 Accept No Imitations: Naturalism vs. Natural Law 79

Part II Political Law

Chapter 6 Thou Shalt Not Kill … Whom? The Meaning of the Person 97

Chapter 7 Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice 113

Chapter 8 Constitution vs. Constitutionalism 127

Chapter 9 Constitutional Metaphysics 145

Chapter 10 The Illiberal Liberal Religion 161

Afterword: The Architecture of Christian Citizenship: Two Stories with Basement and Mezzanine 187

Appendix: A Note on Natural Law Theories 199

Notes 203

Credits, Acknowledgments, Confessions 227

Index 231

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