Topic: Natural law theory, the common food, and the state

Presenter: Professor Gary Chartier

The New Classical Natural Law (NCNL) theory of Grisez, Finnis et al. operates with a distinctive conception of the common good, reflective of the NCNL theorists’ emphasis on the incommensurability of basic goods and the non-fungibility of persons and of individual instances of these goods. NCNL theorists focus on the state as a crucial source of the common good as they understand it. I argue that the notion of the common good can be augmented—enlarged beyond the range considered in some NCNL accounts. At the same time, however, I also suggest that the realization of the common good as understood on this enhanced conception need not be seen as depending in any obvious sense on the state in the manner the NCNL theorists suggest.

Gary Chartier is Professor of Law and Business Ethics and Associate Dean of the Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University in Riverside, California. He is the author of five books, including Anarchy and Legal Order (Cambridge 2013) and Radicalizing Rawls (Palgrave 2014) and the editor of Markets Not Capitalism (Minor Compositions-Autonomedia 2011); his byline has appeared nearly forty times in journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Legal Theory, and Law and Philosophy. He holds a PhD (1991) from the University of Cambridge and a JD (2001, Order of the Coif) from UCLA.

All welcome, no RSVP required.

Contact: Jane Gay, ph: (336) 52523, email:

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Sir Samuel Griffith Room, 1-W341, Forgan Smith Building
Sir Samuel Griffith Room