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What We Can't Not Know: A Guide
     

What We Can't Not Know: A Guide

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by J. Budziszewski
 

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Writing from a conservative Christian perspective, Buziszewski (government and philosophy, U. of Texas) argues that not only are there universal moral truths, but that all human beings commonly know them. He says that his "natural law" (which mirrors his conception of Biblical law) is woven into the nature of humans and positions of moral skepticism are in fact false.

Overview

Writing from a conservative Christian perspective, Buziszewski (government and philosophy, U. of Texas) argues that not only are there universal moral truths, but that all human beings commonly know them. He says that his "natural law" (which mirrors his conception of Biblical law) is woven into the nature of humans and positions of moral skepticism are in fact false. When he applies his philosophy, it is as a tool in the fight against abortion. Annotation ©2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Once upon a time, Budziszewski contends, a common moral ground existed so that all cultures could agree on moral absolutes. In contemporary society, however, such mutual ground has given way to shifting moral sands and new "situational" ethics. According to Budziszewski, an associate professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, none of these new systems offers strong moral foundations. Very simply, he argues, we all have deep inside us a moral regulator-our conscience-that tells us right from wrong. This conscience is part of our human nature, and the law that it writes on our hearts is the natural law of God. Thus, contends Budziszewski, we all know it's wrong to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery or have abortions because our conscience tells us so. No matter how we justify cheating on a spouse, he argues that "we can't not know" the activity is wrong. Budziszewski finds fault with every ethical system but his own because they fail to account for this natural, absolute law written in our hearts. He also egregiously misrepresents certain philosophical positions to make his case. He mistakenly presents utilitarianism, for example, as an ethical system guided by the principle of pleasure instead of emphasizing utilitarianism's focus on the greatest good for the greatest number. Despite his tendency to make straw men out of the systems he opposes, Budziszewski passionately and polemically challenges what he sees as the moral shortcomings of contemporary society. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890626549
Publisher:
Spence Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/28/2004
Pages:
265
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.74(d)

Meet the Author

J. Budziszewski is a professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Among his several books are The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of
Man and The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact,
Theory, and Sign of Contradiction.

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What We Can't Not Know 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First off, I have to disagree with the statement in the Publishers Weekly review: 'He also egregiously misrepresents certain philosophical positions to make his case. He mistakenly presents utilitarianism, for example, as an ethical system guided by the principle of pleasure instead of emphasizing utilitarianism's focus on the greatest good for the greatest number.' Here's the definition of utilitarianism from www.utilitarianism.com: 'A moral theory according to which an action is right if and only if it conforms to the principle of utility. Bentham formulated the principle of utility as part of such a theory in Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation in 1789. An action conforms to the principle of utility if and only if its performance will be more productive of pleasure or happiness, or more preventive of pain or unhappiness, than any alternative.' Who's making a misrepresentation here?

Budziszewski has written this book as an aide for those who are already agreeable to his position, which is orthodox Christianity. He says that he welcomes others to the discussion, but he says outright that this book is not intended to persuade the disbeliever. This book is something to be read slowly and carefully considered. Some familiarity with philosophy and world history is necessary, but you don't need a Ph.D. to follow his arguments.