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Book
By Nature Equal: The Anatomy of a Western Insight
(1999)
  • Patrick McKinley Brennan
  • John E.E. Coons
Abstract
The basic premise of this book, by two law professors, is that humans, in spite of their differences, share one essential characteristic: "the capacity of every rational person to advance in moral self-perfection." How this is achieved, the authors argue, is more dependent on the intention to do good for one's fellow human beings than on the actual results of any efforts to do so. By this analysis, a person can become good without necessarily doing good; it is the good intention that is ultimately determinative. To flesh this out, the authors make a grand tour of Western philosophy, theology, and ethics. They provide brilliant analyses of pertinent thinkers, including Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Kant, Rousseau, Jefferson, Francisco Suarez, Bernard Lonergan, and John Rawls. The writing is fluid and engaging, and extensive endnotes provide further elucidation for specialists.
Disciplines
Publication Date
March 29, 1999
Publisher
Princeton University Press
ISBN
ISBN-13: 9781400822881
Citation Information
Patrick McKinley Brennan and John E.E. Coons. By Nature Equal: The Anatomy of a Western Insight. (1999)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/patrick_brennan/70/