Friday, December 07, 2007

Up for Air

While Life hasn't been actually overwhelming, I have been trying to do some catching up in the Philosophy course. I have been frustrated by a deficient conceptual vocabulary (how's that for a mouthful?). So just before the second Mid-term I borrowed several books from the University Library.

I quickly finished John Finnis' Fundamentals of Ethics the weekend before the exam. I purchased it from Amazon(.com) and hope to have it in my library in January. First impression: it's a good primer in a modern version of Natural Law Ethics.

This family of ethical systems barely rated a mention in our course, and then simply as Command Law ethics. You know, God says it so we have to do it. The strong implication is that this a purely religiously based ethical system. Cicero would have been surprised.

Having seen Alasdair Macintyre mentioned around the web, and particularly in First Things, I had a go at After Virtue. That was a heavier slog, not a weekend skim, at all, at all. It's interesting that the authors of the course textbook, when discussing various modern proponents of Virtue Ethics (only a reading from Aristotle is given), don't mention Professor Macintyre. It makes me wonder if his (subsequent to the first edition of his magnum opus) conversion to Catholicism compromised their evaluation of his philosophical integrity. Does such bias exist in academia? Perish the thought!

And now I'm going through Gomez-Lobo's Morality and the Human Goods. It's sub-title is An Introduction to Natural Law Ethics. This book I can highly recommend for the interested, but philosophically challenged, reader. It has a good conversational style and keeps the reasoning clear and easy to follow. He shows awareness of all the modern ethical theories and appears to deal with them fairly. And he equips the attentive reader with the vocabulary to deal with some of major ethical problems we moderns have to deal with.

And my copy of Finnis' Natural Law and Natural Rights arrived about a week ago. I hope to get into that before my next Philosophy course starts, probably in January.

Now I have to get off philosophy (the final is in a little over a week from now) and read P.D. James' The Children of Men.

Good Reading!

No comments: