Western Creed, Western Identity

Western Creed, Western Identity: Essays in Legal and Social Philosophy

Jude P. Dougherty
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 273
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  • Book Info
    Western Creed, Western Identity
    Book Description:

    In Western Creed, Western Identity, Jude P. Dougherty investigates the classical roots of Western culture and its religious sources in an effort to define its underlying intellectual and spiritual commitments.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1822-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Ralph McInerny

    As editor of the Review of Metaphysics, and during his long tenure as dean of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, Jude Dougherty devoted himself to publishing the works of others and creating conditions in which his colleagues could engage in research and teaching. These self-effacing efforts did not of course exhaust his contributions to the discipline he loves. His involvement in a wide range of philosophical associations and his international reputation added to the impression that, in the service of wisdom, he was rather a Martha than a Mary. This collection of essays makes it...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    The essays that constitute this volume were written in response to specific invitations, usually invitations to lecture on a topic of contemporary concern. They were written from a single vantage point, one that has come to be identified with Saint Thomas Aquinas, although the natural law outlook that they represent is older than Aquinas. To put it another way, they were written by someone steeped in a Catholic intellectual tradition that finds its roots in classical antiquity. Thus they represent not only a philosophical mind but a Catholic mind as well since many of the issues confronted are of particular...

      (pp. 3-17)

      As the turn of the century approaches, calls for the renewal of America abound. There is a widespread belief that something is amiss, that the nation’s policymakers have lost their way. This is driven home by the employment of a relatively new term, “procedural democracy,” which has entered the vocabulary of political theorists, on both the left and the right, to designate a democratic government that remains neutral among competing conceptions of the good, endorsing none while accommodating all. A procedural democracy eschews value judgments on the assumption that it is not the business of government to espouse or advance...

    • TWO CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY: A Sociological Category or an Oxymoron?
      (pp. 18-27)

      The theses to be entertained here can be set forth simply. To address the question “Is there Christian philosophy?” it is necessary, first, to acknowledge that there is no such thing as “Christianity.”As a sociological category “Christianity” may have some content. People the world over profess to be “Christian,” but when we look to the content of belief, we find so little in common among professed Christians that the designation becomes almost meaningless. Professed Christians subscribe to a multiplicity of faiths with varying degrees of sophistication; they adhere to tenets, many of which are contradictory, many irrational, many unexamined. Orthodox...

    • THREE WHAT WAS RELIGION? The Demise of a Prodigious Power
      (pp. 28-43)

      The recent shift in North America from a predominantly Protestant to a secular or humanistic culture has created for the religious mind a new set of problems. The religious mind is no longer faced with the task of defining its vision of the contemporary meaning of Christianity or Judaism against other religious outlooks; each is now called to defend itself in the face of major secular attack, hostile to religious belief and practice.

      It may take considerable learning and analysis to recognize the full extent of the secular threat to religion, but little reflection is required to recognize its negative...

    • FOUR MARX, DEWEY, AND MARITAIN: The Role of Religion in Society
      (pp. 44-65)

      Almost before our eyes, in the brief span of the few decades since World War II, this nation, like much of the West, has become intellectually secularized, with consequences for the social order. It is a well established principle that if a society’s laws are based on a particular worldview and that worldview collapses, the laws themselves will crumble.¹

      We have seen this happen gradually in the United States as the universities, many of which were founded by religious organizations, became secular and contributed to the secularization of the nation. How that happened is too long a story to tell...

      (pp. 66-82)

      In its cover story of December 12, 1960, Time magazine used John Courtney Murray to symbolize the coming of age of American Catholicism.¹ John F. Kennedy had just been elected president of the United States and would become the first Catholic to hold that office. Significantly, Murray was pictured against the backdrop of a sixteenth-century manuscript of Robert Bellarmine’s Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei. A diagonal yellow banner announced the title of the cover essay: “U.S. Catholics and the State.” Murray, a theology professor at the Jesuit seminary Woodstock College, was then a major academic participant in a debate concerning...

      (pp. 83-99)

      The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are commonly known as the “Bill of Rights.” Like other declarations of rights before it, it is a document that both describes the fundamental liberties of a people and forbids the government to violate them. The first eight amendments to the Constitution list rights and freedoms possessed by every citizen. Amendments IX and X forbid Congress to adopt laws that would violate these rights.

      The First Amendment reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The first of the religion clauses...

    • SEVEN THOMAS ON NATURAL LAW: What Judge Thomas Did Not Say
      (pp. 100-116)

      The Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the qualification of Judge Clarence Thomas for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court raised for a worldwide audience questions concerning the role of natural law in the legislative and judicial processes, that is, in the framing and the interpreting of law. The media debate that ensued more often than not led to confusion rather than clarification. Many were left wondering what indeed is “natural law” that views about it should prove so controversial? Given the complexity of the matter, it is not surprising that Judge Thomas could not satisfy his interrogators. What the hearings...

      (pp. 119-135)

      There are two things that I wish to do in this brief presentation. First, I will sketch in a general way the philosophical temperament that has in recent decades influenced the framing of law; second, I will single out for special treatment the idea of “collective guilt,” which I take to be one of many concepts that first gained currency in the philosophical world before its use in the law. Particular attention will be paid to the use of the notion of collective guilt in corporate law.

      It is commonly acknowledged that if a society’s laws are based on a...

    • NINE ACCOUNTABILITY WITHOUT CAUSALITY: Tort Litigation Reaches Fairy-Tale Levels
      (pp. 136-154)

      “Tort Litigation Reaches Fairy-Tale Levels” is the caption given to a letter to the editor recently published by the Wall Street Journal. The writer, of course, was not the first to notice.¹ By one estimate tort awards represent 2.3 percent of the U.S. gross national product, about eight times the comparable rate for Japan. Another study reports that U.S. liability insurance rates are twenty times those of Europe.² Complaints about the drift that tort law has taken have come from many quarters as sellers are found strictly liable for environmental cleanups, as industries are held liable for “unsafe” products, and...

      (pp. 155-167)

      There are times when the large brush stroke is appropriate, when a Chagall-like impression serves better than the detail of a Vermeer. In an effort to gain insight into the nature of “right,” I have chosen to sketch rights theories in a general way and to focus upon the notion of entitlement. If a librarian were to catalogue the flood of literature that the past decade has produced on the subject of “human rights,” a number of broad categories would suggest themselves. There is the theological or religiously inspired literature that assumes the dignity of the human person and proceeds...

      (pp. 168-182)

      Nearly every report or bulletin published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, provides material for serious reflection if not cause for alarm. Studies reported in the past decade reveal that of prisoners released for the first time from state institutions, those sentenced for homicide had served a median term of only 42 months; those sentenced for rape or sexual assault a mere 36 months. Other studies surveying the criminal history records in eleven states, covering a period of three years, found that in a sample of prisoners released within a given year, 62.5 percent were rearrested...

      (pp. 183-198)

      Few would deny that Immanuel Kant is one of a small band of great knowers. Among his lasting contributions to the study of philosophy is his Metaphysics of Morals. His discussion of virtue, of one’s duties toward one’s self and toward others, is time-transcending. Kant is convinced that “a doctrine of virtue is … something that can be taught.”¹ But virtue cannot be taught merely by concepts of duty or by exhortations. Instead, it must be exercised and cultivated by effort. One cannot straightaway do all that one wants to do. But the decision to embark on a virtuous path...

    • THIRTEEN EDITH STEIN: The Convert in Search of Illumination
      (pp. 201-212)

      Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend several weeks in Salamanca, the seat of a university whose charter dates to 1215. One of its most distinguished twentieth-century rectors was Miguel de Unamuno, known the world over as a philosopher, poet, dramatist, novelist, and essayist. In Salamanca I had the time to read Unamuno and to study his life. Born in 1864 in the Basque coastal city of Bilbao, Unamuno at age sixteen left his native city for Madrid. One of his biographers notes that shortly after he arrived in Madrid, this formerly pious youth stopped going to Mass.¹...

    • FOURTEEN MARITAIN AT THE CLIFF’S EDGE: From Antimoderne to Le Paysan
      (pp. 213-228)

      Jacques Maritain was an “engaged” intellectual from the very beginning of his academic career. Never one to waffle or to avoid conflict, Maritain joined issue with some of the leading philosophers of his generation. He proved to be an intractable critic of modernity. Maritain was not alone in viewing the dominant philosophy of his day as a danger to Christian belief and practice. Informed Protestants and Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic evaluated nineteenth-century intellectual currents in much the same way. To see this, one has only to contrast the course of American idealism in the last quarter of...

      (pp. 229-235)

      Although Fides et Ratio is the thirteenth encyclical written by John Paul II, and published some twenty years into his pontificate, it is not the first time he has had occasion to consider the relationship between faith and reason. As a philosopher and teacher of philosophy, Karol Wojytla could not avoid it. To open the Summa Theologiae is to confront the subject in Question 1, Article 1, wherein Saint Thomas defends the necessity of revelation in spite of philosophy’s ability to demonstrate the existence of God and “other like truths about God.” For Thomas, faith presupposes natural knowledge.

      The relationship...

      (pp. 236-244)

      To speak of Catholic education is to acknowledge, for one thing, a specific telos to education and, for another, a distinctive tradition. The recognition of that telos is, of course, shared by other believers. It consists in the awareness that the grave is not the end of man, that man is called to a life in union with the divine, a life, whatever else it might be, consisting primarily in a knowledge and love of God. Acknowledgment of this transcendent end colors the whole of education. At no stage is ultimate fulfillment confused with terrestrial happiness.

      The distinctive feature of...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 245-250)
  10. Index
    (pp. 251-259)