Foreword to 'By Nature Equal? The Anatomy of a Western Insight'

John E. Coons and Patrick Brennan, BY NATURE EQUAL? THE ANATOMY OF A WESTERN INSIGHT, Princeton University Press, 1999

Emory Legal Studies Research Paper

7 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2011 Last revised: 14 Jan 2020

See all articles by John Witte

John Witte

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

This brief Article introduces the highly original theory of equality of two distinguished Catholic legal scholars. They root their argument in a reconstructed theory that human beings are created with the divine invitation to moral self-perfection, however impossible this state is for anyone to achieve in this life. Humans can still, however, achieve goodness in objective good intentions and doing the best they can to discover and perform certain good actions. This Article places this argument in historical context, compares it other theories of equality based on reason, will, and dignity, and judges it to be a refreshing new way of thinking about human equality, liberty, and capability.

Keywords: Equality, liberal tradition, moral self-perfection, intention, Catholic theology, Declaration of Independence, Coons, Brennan

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Foreword to 'By Nature Equal? The Anatomy of a Western Insight' (1999). John E. Coons and Patrick Brennan, BY NATURE EQUAL? THE ANATOMY OF A WESTERN INSIGHT, Princeton University Press, 1999, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1851236

John Witte (Contact Author)

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