Thomistic Natural Law as Darwinian Natural Right: A Reply to Critics

59 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 11 Aug 2011

Larry Arnhart

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

I have argued for Darwinian natural right, which is a Darwinian understanding of evolved human nature that provides a modern scientific confirmation of Thomistic natural law. For Aquinas, the good is the desirable, and the order of the natural law corresponds to the order of the natural desires. Darwinian science shows how these natural desires can be understood as expressions of a human nature shaped by human evolutionary history. Critics of this argument have offered six major objections. In this paper, I reply to these objections. In all of this, I aim to show how by rooting natural law in a scientific conception of human nature, and by avoiding the contradictions that arise from Aquinas's occasional efforts to elevate revelation over reason, Darwinian natural right is the natural fulfillment of Thomistic natural law.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas, Charles Darwin, natural law, evolutionary ethics, biopolitical theory

Suggested Citation

Arnhart, Larry, Thomistic Natural Law as Darwinian Natural Right: A Reply to Critics (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901012

Larry Arnhart (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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