Sunday, April 8, 2012

Introduction


I've titled this blog "Summum Bonum," which is latin for the highest good. The quote from Aristotle explains the role of the good in thinking about our actions. When we make choices we either choose something for its own sake, or for the sake of something else. That which is sought for its own sake is the good, or the summum bonum.

My newest book, appearing in print on April 30th from Cambridge UP, is titled "The Natural Moral Law: The Good After Modernity." In this book I explore the idea of the good from the ancient world to the post-modern world. I especially ask how this idea can help give focus to the moral law in the contemporary world. I argue that we can know the moral law, and the good, by the use of reason. This is the sense that it is the "natural" moral law, as opposed to the "revealed" moral law.

The idea of the good distinguishes competing theories and worldviews. The good gives meaning to an individual's life, and makes sense of how a group holds together. Civilizations grow or decline depending on how unified they are in their beliefs about the good, and the extend to which they have actually identified the good as opposed to a misconception.

My hope for this blog is that it can be a resource for thinking about the good and related ideas in philosophy, religious studies, and history. I will add readings that highlight competing views of the good. I will also respond to comments, although I will delete comments that are abusive or rely on informal fallacies. My desire is for this blog to promote rational discussion and critical thinking about our basic beliefs.

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