The Clash of Orthodoxies

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by fromtheright, Mar 16, 2002.

  1. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    I'm curious about the thoughts/reactions from anyone who has read Robert George's recent book. I've started reading it and it looks like it could be one of the single-best challenges to the increasingly dominant secular orthodoxy.
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Probably hard to get a response on this one. I have not even heard of the book.

    Why not take a minute and share some of the good "stuff" you are gleaning from it. That alone may pique someone's interest to read the book (or at least debate the points).

    Thanks!
     
  3. Barnabas H.

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    fromtheright, is this The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis by Robert P. George? I haven't read it, but was able to locate it on amazone.com and they are selling it for $17.47 new and $15.95 used. Which one did you read? (Just kidding) So, why don't you highlight it for us, as Dr. Bob suggested. Or are you from amazone.com and want us to buy the book? ;)

    The Clash of Orthodoxies

    [ March 18, 2002, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: Barnabas ]
     
  4. fromtheright

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    Barnabas,

    I haven't read it yet, have just barely started into it while trying to finish two others. I'm just curious of the impressions of any who have read it, it's gotten excellent reviews from conservatives.
     
  5. Barnabas H.

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    Please let us know how you found the book, ok? This way we will have our own in-house review or critique. ;)
     
  6. fromtheright

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    Barnabas,

    What George does is to basically beat secularists on their own turf, to answer their objection to religious orthodoxy that it is "outside reason", by demonstrating that it is rationally defensible and that secularism's own positions are not so, often relying on their own premises. As you may know, he has a strong natural law background and, as I understand, is Catholic. His position basically is that religious positions on public morality are defensible by unaided reason, though Scripture gives it a more solid basis for the believer. I entered the post, not to debate the position (though I think that would be worthwhile and enjoyable, I'm just not sure I'm prepared to do so) but to, as this forum is advertised, open the floor for reviews of the book.

    Gene
     
  7. Ransom

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    Oh, that Robert George! Yes, he is a Roman Catholic, and a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton holding a prestigious endowed chair. He is also quite conservative and someone who is on my list of people to get into.

    George's best-known moment is the now-famous panel discussion at the 1998 American Political Science Association convention in which he and Duke University professor Stanley Fish, the king of postmodern intellectuals, took part. To that point Fish had been operating under the presupposition that pro-life arguments were made on the basis of religious conviction (and therefore, as a good postmodernist, he rejected them).

    George came prepared: he had written a paper outlining the scientific and philosophical arguments for the humanity of the fetus - avoiding religious argument entirely - and sent a copy to Fish in advance. During the discussion, Fish shocked the participants by conceding the point.

    (I should add that an apocryphal version of this encounter has been widely distributed thanks to a Breakpoint column by Chuck Colson in which Colson makes a significant factual error, claiming this discussion converted Stanley Fish to a pro-life advocate. Not so; he conceded that he was wrong about the nature of the arguments used by pro-lifers and that their arguments made use of scientific and philosophical reasoning, not religious conviction. Colson falsely assumed Fish was a secularist and a pro-choicer because of his published views, when in fact he is neither. Like a good postmodernist, however, Fish keeps his beliefs to himself.)

    In any case, this sounds like a good book, and it's going on the long list. Thanks.
     
  8. fromtheright

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    Ransom,

    I would recommend it for the short list. I recently finished his In Defense of Natural Law, which was really a defense of the version of natural law theory that he espouses, with which I disagree, but he argued very well. Have read some of his other stuff, mostly articles he has done for First Things.

    [ March 19, 2002, 07:01 PM: Message edited by: fromtheright ]
     
  9. fromtheright

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    Since Dr. Bob asked for some nuggets from the book and I have finally had some time to get back to it, I guess I'll add a few thoughts as I read it. One interesting thing George argues in his book is the person/body dualism as employed by secularists to justify abortion, euthanasia, etc.; i.e., that the body is viewed by secularists as an instrumentality of the person for the person to accomplish his ends, not as part of a whole person. In the case of abortion, one does not become a person until one has attained and retains certain abilities/functions such as brain function or sentience, so that the body can be disposed of. In the realm of sexual purity, the body is used as an instrument for gratification of the person's desires, without regard to the whole of the the person, therefore dis-integrating humans. He also gets into David Hume's subjugation of reason to passion. Though it may sound a little deep, he is able to communicate it rather well, even to me (how well I am able to communicate it to you may be a problem, though).

    [ March 26, 2002, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: fromtheright ]
     

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