Symposium on "The Future of Natural Law"

Oct 27, 2022
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E 58th St,
Chicago, IL 60637
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Natural law theory has long been a central tenet of Christian philosophical and theological reflection on the relationship between God, the moral life, and society, and it has played an important historical role in shaping the political life of the United States and many other nations. The topic of natural law has also been the subject of many disputes and disagreements, both in the contemplative and practical orders. It is therefore important to take stock of this rich and complex history if we are to understand the current state of natural law thinking so as to ascertain what role it may play in the future.

This event is the public portion of an invite-only faculty colloquium in honor of Russell Hittinger. Hittinger has articulated many of the deepest Augustinian and Thomistic sources of natural law theory, given an influential critique of certain trends in contemporary natural law thinking, and shown how various conceptions of natural law have been embraced or rejected in American political debates since the middle of the twentieth century. Finally, his most recent work has shown how natural law principles have been integrated into Catholic social teaching since the French Revolution. This discussion will use Hittinger’s writings as a springboard to explore these perennial and timely topics in order to see where the potential for future developments and applications of natural law theory may be found.