Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
What We Can't Not Know: A Guide Paperback – May, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Once upon a time, Budziszewski contends, a common moral ground existed so that all cultures could agree on moral absolutes. In contemporary society, however, such mutual ground has given way to shifting moral sands and new "situational" ethics. According to Budziszewski, an associate professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, none of these new systems offers strong moral foundations. Very simply, he argues, we all have deep inside us a moral regulator-our conscience-that tells us right from wrong. This conscience is part of our human nature, and the law that it writes on our hearts is the natural law of God. Thus, contends Budziszewski, we all know it's wrong to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery or have abortions because our conscience tells us so. No matter how we justify cheating on a spouse, he argues that "we can't not know" the activity is wrong. Budziszewski finds fault with every ethical system but his own because they fail to account for this natural, absolute law written in our hearts. He also egregiously misrepresents certain philosophical positions to make his case. He mistakenly presents utilitarianism, for example, as an ethical system guided by the principle of pleasure instead of emphasizing utilitarianism's focus on the greatest good for the greatest number. Despite his tendency to make straw men out of the systems he opposes, Budziszewski passionately and polemically challenges what he sees as the moral shortcomings of contemporary society.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
According to the natural law, a concept Christianity adopted and modified from Greek and Roman philosophy, knowledge of God's existence and of fundamental moral principles constitutes humanity's universal common sense. It isn't innate, however, but must be inculcated through traditional moral systems, such as the Tao, the dharma, and the Ten Commandments. Budziszewski invokes the last as best known to most of his potential readers and cites Judaic and Christian scripture, yet this is no religious tract but a philosophical exposition and a disputation on current moral attitudes and issues, especially abortion. Framing the entire presentation in terms of a lost world of moral consensus, Budziszewski says the natural law grounds a rational worldview that has been discredited by sin and guilt, and displaced by worldviews grounded in sensation (he is particularly cogent on the varieties of modern atheistic or agnostic feelings). But the natural law weltanschauung could be reestablished, and Budziszewski concludes his superb "guide" with broad advice on how to do so (for one thing, "we must repent abortion"). Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
I would strongly recommend anyone interested in natural law theory to check this book out. Budziszewski also does an excellent job of presenting complex subjects in a very easy to understand fashion. Incredible book by an incredible author!
We've all heard the cry that our country is in decline, can't get it's act together, morally confused, etc. This book provides an explanation for how we've gotten into such a mess and how to bring ourselves out of it. For those who would disagree, they might take a look in the rearview mirror.
Readers who buy into political correctness about homosexual conduct, abortion and other fashionable no-longer-regarded-as-sinful behaviors will be seriously offended by his straightforward rejection of such conduct. Those who struggle with the contrasts between the politically correct moral fashions of the day and the urgings of their consciences will find good reasons to listen to their consciences. Those who accept behavioral guidance from their consciences will find powerful affirmations of their beliefs.
To be fair, I'm already persuaded; what this book provides is the language and the process of reasoning for me to better understand and explain my own position. I wouldn't hesitate to include it in a library with Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" or Lewis's "Mere Christianity". It's clearly written, well argued, and accessible. Other reviews have detailed more of the content and the arguments made, so I won't summarize. I'll simply add my endorsement, for what it's worth.