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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Kevin Flannery, S.J.Pontifical Gregorian University

John BowlinPrinceton Theological Seminary

Scott RonigerLoyola Marymount University

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.

Kevin Flannery, SJ, is Ordinary Professor of the History of Ancient Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he previously served as Dean of the Philosophy Faculty. Fr. Flannery is the author of many works on ethics and on the history of logic, including Acts Amid Precepts: The Aristotelian Logical Structure of Thomas Aquinas's Moral Theory. He received his DPhil from the University of Oxford.

John R. Bowlin is the Robert L. Stuart Professor of Philosophy and Christian Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, and his MA and PhD from Princeton University. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Ethics, and the Society for Values in Higher Education, and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Religious Ethics since 2003. His areas of specialization are Christian ethics, moral philosophy, social ethics and criticism, and the history of moral theology, and his courses cover ethics and the problem of evil, ethics and politics in Augustine, war and Christian conscience, and friendship, love, and justice. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Scott J. Roniger is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He holds a Baccalaureate and a Master of Arts in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, and a Licentiate in Philosophy (Ph.L.) from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He earned his doctorate in philosophy, with distinction, from The Catholic University of America under the direction of Robert Sokolowski. He has published scholarly articles on metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics and political philosophy, philosophy of literature, and Catholic Social Doctrine, and he is currently editing a collection of essays by Russell Hittinger entitled On the Dignity of Society: Essays on Catholic Social Teaching. His research recapitulates themes in Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Husserlian phenomenology. He has been a faculty fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute since the fall of 2017.