Natural Law and Public Affairs Seminar
July 7-12, 2019 • Princeton University • Princeton, New Jersey
The last several decades have witnessed a revival of natural law theory among English-speaking moral and legal philosophers. This ethical tradition of Aristotle and Aquinas offers a compelling alternative to the Kantian and consequentialist systems that have dominated modern moral philosophy. It also provides powerful rational defenses of moral principles often identified as Judeo-Christian, but common also to many great Muslim, ancient Greek, and Roman thinkers—indeed, principles dominant for centuries throughout the West.
This seminar will begin by engaging contemporary analytic work on the foundations and methods of natural-law moral reasoning. But the better part of it will be spent examining arguments that apply natural-law insights to a variety of moral and political issues, including religious liberty and the role of the state; justice in commerce and in communication; just war and capital punishment; abortion and euthanasia; and marriage and sexuality.
The seminar is for advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in normative ethics and contemporary applications. Young professionals working in a related field may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Participants may but need not be versed in natural law theory.
The following documents are required of applicants: cover letter explaining your interest in the seminar, resume or curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation. All application materials must be submitted online on or before February 11, 2019; applications received by email will not be considered.
Location and Admissions Information
Admitted students will be notified of their status in mid-March. A non-refundable $250 registration fee is required of all admitted students to offset the costs of tuition, room, and board to attend this program.
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