Research Handbook on Natural Law Theory
Show Less

Research Handbook on Natural Law Theory

Jonathan Crowe and Constance Y. Lee

This thought-provoking Research Handbook provides a snapshot of current research on natural law theory in ethics, politics and law, showcasing the breadth and diversity of contemporary natural law thought. The Research Handbook on Natural Law Theory examines topics such as foundational figures in Western natural law theory, natural law ideas in a variety of religious and cultural traditions, normative foundations of natural law, as well as issues of law and governance. Featuring contributions by leading international scholars, this Research Handbook offers a valuable resource for scholars in law, philosophy, religious studies and related fields.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 18: Intelligibility, practical reason and the common good

Jonathan Crowe


Jonathan Crowe’s chapter considers the relationship between three pivotal concepts in contemporary natural law thinking: practical reason, intelligibility and the common good. The so-called new natural law theorists, such as Germain Grisez and John Finnis, argue that there is a plurality of basic goods that render human action intelligible. The intelligibility of an action, on this view, is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for its reasonableness. However, the new natural law theorists have relatively little to say about what it means for an action to be intelligible or unintelligible. Crowe builds on this picture to argue that actions are intelligible or unintelligible relative to a context of social practices. This understanding of intelligibility, he argues, reveals an important connection between the basic goods and the common good. The common good, understood as the project of creating a society that enables all its members to pursue flourishing lives, not only facilitates participation in the basic goods, but makes the goods possible. It does this by creating a context within which judgments can be made about the intelligibility of human conduct.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.