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Shared Morality, A: A Narrative Defense of Natural Law Ethics Paperback – November 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1587431623 ISBN-10: 1587431629
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The contemporary ethical and moral landscape is one of confusion and cacophony. Theories of ethics are often presented in terms of the horns of a dilemma in our postmodern world. On the one hand, ethical relativism is deemed both descriptive and prescriptive; on the other hand, moral absolutism is foundational. In reality, other options exist. In this groundbreaking book, Craig A. Boyd presents the alternative of natural law morality.

"Craig A. Boyd's A Shared Morality makes an important contribution to the literature on natural law and the virtues. Boyd offers a cogent and historically grounded account of why common human morality is best conceived along lines provided by the natural law tradition. He offers a clear normative thesis but is fair-minded to opposing positions and aware of the need for further work on the topic. This book will be especially interesting to those interested in issues of relativism, moral reasoning, and cross-cultural morality. It should be read by ethicists, theologians, and anyone concerned about the moral foundations of human rights and the common good." --Stephen J. Pope, author of The Ethics of Aquinas

"Natural law advocates and virtue 'theorists' have largely ignored one another. In this book, Boyd develops a constructive engagement between these positions to which I hope philosophers and theologians will attend . If they are like me, they will learn much from this book." --Stanley Hauerwas, author of The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics

"Craig A. Boyd has developed a contemporary version of natural law ethics, drawing more on sociobiology and current concepts of nature than on Aristotelian metaphysics. Yet he follows Aquinas on the good life by tying natural law to virtue ethics, which in turn leads to a divine command theory of moral obligation. Add this to his vigorous response to analytic moral philosophy and to scientific and postmodern criticisms, and the result is a splendid treatment of contemporary philosophical ethics. The exposition is both clear and competent, his research thorough, and the argument persuasive. It's a book I strongly recommend for teacher and student alike." --Arthur Holmes, professor emeritus of philosophy, Wheaton College

About the Author

Craig A. Boyd (PhD, St. Louis University) is professor of philosophy and director of faith integration at Azusa Pacific University. He has published numerous journal articles and presented at many scholarly conferences.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587431629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587431623
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,548,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Craig A. Boyd (1963-)is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the School for Professional Studies at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO. His academic interests include the work of St. Thomas Aquinas, natural law ethics, studies in charity and humility, and issues at the intersection of evolution and normative ethical theory. His other writings address, more broadly, participation metaphysics, faith and reason, and ethical issues in the works of The Inklings.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Oord on March 18, 2008
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Boyd's book is profound, timely, and irenic. He lays out the structure of natural law theory in an accessible and informative way. His sophisticated understanding of philosophy, especially the thought of Thomas Aquinas, shines brightly.

Perhaps the most important part of the book is Boyd's wrestling with contemporary objections to natural law. To those who think recent work in critical theory, postmodernism, or science has undermined the power of natural law, Boyd shows otherwise.

But Boyd is not afraid to draw from constructive elements of contemporary natural law objections. For this reason, he proposes a more robust version of natural law than what readers may have imagined possible. And along the way, Boyd shows the importance of natural law theory for a cogent approach to understanding and appropriating the virtues.

This is a GREAT book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rev Casey VINE VOICE on May 2, 2008
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Craig A. Boyd manages to resuscitate the theory of natural law. He manages not only to repel the criticisms of natural law but he also creates a more robust theory by taking into account the insights of other fields of study.

Morality is Boyd's first book, having written many papers at the intersection of theology, science, and ethics. Morality brings together Boyd's interdisciplinary interests to defend a theory of natural law integrated with a theory of virtue, a partnership Craig argues has been lacking in contemporary ethics (NOTE: characteristic of his interdisciplinary habits, Craig does not limit himself to Christian ethics). In short, Craig argues that neither natural law theory nor virtue theory are complete without one another.

Craig realizes that he has his work cut out for him. With the exception of some politically conservative theorists seeking to build up a religionless theory of universal human rights, natural law has largely fallen into disrepute, at least among academics. Craig identifies four challenges to natural law: sociobiology and evolutionary psychology (the scientific challenge); divine command ethics (the religious challenge); postmodernist relativism (the cultural challenge); and analytical philosophy (the philosophical challenge). He devotes a chapter to each, chronicling their respective critiques of natural law, responding to those critiques and appropriating them into his own theory.

Personally, I found the chapters on sociobiology/evolution and postmodernism the most helpful. The others are certainly important but as someone who works with non-academic people in the local church, these two topics pop up most frequently.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julie Balamut on May 11, 2010
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Dr. Boyd's book is a much-needed study of the place of natural law in contemporary society. As natural law theory is somewhat complicated for most general readers, he did a good job bringing the different ethical traditions together and showing how natural law theory is compeling. And I really appreciated the discussions around contemporary issues. (A major strength of this book.) After a great journey through the historical and philsophical connections, I would have hoped for much more meat on virtue theory and natural law. However, he successfully, I think, draws the more modern big guns, Rorty, Nussbaum, MacIntyre, into his defense which I certainly appreciated. I'd recommend this book as a perfect graduate text but may be too heavy for all but the most advanced undergraduate. Hopefully, Dr. Boyd will continue to grace us with more general, philosophical discussion of natural law theory especially in light of the classical and theological virtues.
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Craig Boyd's work here offers helpful perspective to anyone who takes seriously the need for theological or philosophical foundations. Drawing on his knowledge of Aquinas and his commitment to a reasonable approach to both intellectual and spiritual experience Boyd provides a "tour de force" in defense of a philosophical foundation that almost everyone appeals to, but without knowing it or remaining faithful to it. Many western Christians claim an interest in apologetics, but lack the understanding that actually allows for one to make a defense of a position or faith claim. This extensive work can provide that. It will take careful reading, but is not beyond the apprehension of the lay person who has a genuine interest in truth claims. The work is historically grounded and situated within the traditional philosophical conversations. I found the introduction alone to be worth the price of the book. Its a great read for college students and I would recommend it for seminary use as well. One will have to learn a little vocabulary, but entering an important discussion normally does. Its a great book.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Oconnor on March 8, 2010
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The author has good intentions, but the writing style is very dense and the flow of ideas is tortuous and slow. It is easier to read Aristotle than this book, so why not go with the original?
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