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The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction Hardcover – May 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935191179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935191179
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,324,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. Budziszewski is professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas. He is the author of many books, including What We Can't Not Know: A Guide, The Revenge of Conscience, Evangelicals in the Public Square, and three books for young people about Christian faith

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
This is a good contribution to natural law thinking that has permeated much of Western ethical thinking.
Ronald C. Payne
You will often come to points of realization where you will think, "That makes sense...it's as if I knew that already, but never knew that I knew it."
G. Kyle Essary
Budziszewski is able to take a subject that can be technical and overwrought with difficulties and makes the reading an enjoyment.
Euthyphro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By ApologiaPhoenix on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am in Christian ministry and where I work, a fellow co-worker gave me this book to read over the weekend. I have been a reader of Budziszewski starting with "How To Stay Christian in College." I have read several of "Theophilus's" dialogues at Boundless.org as well as the other books he has on Natural Law. That would be "Written on the Heart", "The Revenge of Conscience", and "What You Can't Not Know."

If you offered me those three books vs. this one now, I would prefer to have this one. It's that good.

Throughout this book the reader will constantly be saying "Why didn't I think of that?" and any objection you have or didn't have Budziszewski sees coming and addresses. I regularly debate on these issues and found myself using his arguments immediately. He argues with you saying "I can't believe I didn't see that earlier." He deals with homosexual marriage quite easily and the chapter especially on capital punishment is excellent.

This is a book no thinker on Natural Law can afford to not know. Natural Law consists of moral truths you can't not know. If you want to be influential in thinking on Natural Law, this is a book you can't not know.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lee Cheek on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With the current renascence of interest in natural law among students of politics and law, this collection of ten essays and an afterword in defense of the concept by J. Budziszewski (Univ. of Texas) will be of interest to a diverse readership. The book consists of previously published essays and lectures that provide a useful introduction to the importance of natural law. The book is divided into a section of essays on the "foundational principles of good and evil" (xii.) and a section devoted to explicating the implications of natural law for politics. The first half offers engaging analyzes of natural law as the embodiment of truth about the constitution of the human person, philosophical reality, and revelation. The second half confronts the relationship between natural law and several contemporary issues, including capital punishment and the limits of liberalism. Budziszewski writes in an accessible style that encourages the reader to ponder the significance of natural law for the modern world, while arguing that the concept is "embedded into the structure of creation" (p. 199).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Kyle Essary on June 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
J. Budziszewski has written a book that has both those with little formal recognition of natural law (we all have an internal recognition) and those who are natural law veterans in mind. The book is a collection of essays dealing with the recognition of natural law, the impossibility of a successful secular natural law theory, the composition of the human person, Liberalism and various other topics.

Unquestionably, the highlight of the book comes in Budziszewski's essay, "Accept No Limitations: Naturalism vs. Natural Law." Budziszewski does not sit idly by and let secularist get away with saying ridiculous things such as "logic is a brute fact" that does not need justification or that morality or intentionality is an "emergent" quality as though this justifies sneaking them into discourse without providing an adequate metaphysical grounding. This chapter also includes a brief, but sufficient critique of evolutionary psychology and ethics, as well as a deconstruction of utilitarianism and desire utilitarianism (although he doesn't refer to it as such). This exceptional chapter ends with a firm rebuttal of the attempted secular natural law theory of Larry Arnhart.

The final chapter was also very engaging. The focus was on Liberalism and the strange paradox within Liberalism where a false pluralism of religious faith actually serves to undermine religious faith completely. Budziszewski shows through internal critique how the entire project suffers from gross misunderstandings of the very religions it seeks to support through pluralistic ideals. It also shows that Liberalism actually only presents a thin veneer of actual pluralism when in fact its aims are to promote its own "illiberal Liberal religion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Euthyphro on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This Book Is Not a Romance
The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction spans the philosophical and theological underpinnings that hold together every individual's worldview. It is in a word (or two) a work concerning Natural Law. It is not an introduction to Natural Law or a full and complete apology for it.

The first half of the book covers Natural Law proper as it relates to morality. These first pages read as an expose and apology as Budziszewski sets up the inseparability of the moral aspect and the theological aspect of natural law as outlined in the Decalogue. He turns first to the nature of man. He looks both at what we can't help but know about ourselves and at the implication of nature on revelation and vice versa. Next Budziszewski focuses on the idea of second nature, connaturality, or more simply he considers not the nature of Man but focuses on the what of any given individual in a situation. He shows just how unnatural man can make himself when he seeks to build his edifice from his own image. From here he delves into nature herself looking at different metaphysical presumptions of materialistic and evolutionary theories and what implications can be derived from them. His focus remains intently on morality which leaves contending theories wanting to such a degree that the reader may be left to wonder how he had missed it all before. In the closing chapter of the first half the author deftly tackles what might be called psuedo-natural law; these are the imitation laws like utilitarianism.

The second half of the book takes everything that has come before it and applies it to political law.
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