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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
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Natural Law and Practical Rationality

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Mark C. MurphyGeorgetown University, Washington DC

ISBN13: 9780521802291
ISBN: 0521802296
Published: October 2001
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £69.99

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Natural law theory has recently been undergoing a revival, especially in political philosophy and jurisprudence. Yet, most fundamentally, natural law theory is not a political theory, but a moral theory, or more accurately a theory of practical rationality. According to the natural law account of practical rationality, the basic reasons for actions are basic goods that are grounded in the nature of human beings. Practical rationality aims to identify and characterize reasons for action and to explain how choice between actions worth performing can be appropriately governed by rational standards. These standards are justified by reference to features of the human goods that are the fundamental reasons for action. This book is a defense of a contemporary natural law theory of practical rationality, demonstrating its inherent plausibility and engaging systematically with rival egoist, consequentialist, Kantian and virtue accounts.

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Introduction: natural law and the theory of practical rationality
1. The real identity thesis
2. Well-being
3. The reasons that make action intelligible
4. Welfarism and its discontents
5. The principles that make choice reasonable
6. What ought to be done.