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A Sketch of Dialectical Engagement between Natural Law Tradition and Public Reason Liberalism

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Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description In this paper, I will propose an analytical overview of the dialectical engagement between Catholic natural law tradition (hereinafter "NLT") and political, or, more exactly, public reason liberalism (hereinafter “PRL”). In the first part, I will try to present NL and liberalism as two rival traditions of moral enquiry. I will start with a brief discussion on the concept of tradition and the possibility of the mutual engagement between competing traditions. Given the complexity of these traditions, I will have to spatiotemporally define the field in which I will traverse. In the second part, after outlining the attitude of PRL towards NL reasons, I will categorize different approaches towards PRL among the exponents of NLT. Of course, this long-lived tradition is rarely monolithic and, among its contemporary representatives, various strands with specific points of view on liberal tradition could be differentiated. Although the attitude of the majority of NL thinkers towards PRL has often been negative, there is a strong difference in their stance on liberalism in general (i.e. some authors want to endorse so-called NL liberalism, some defend the withdrawal into local communities or some kind of confessional state). In the end, this ultimate question of my paper concerns the fundamental (in)compatibility of NL and liberal tradition. Still, more concretely, I will try to identify reasons supporting, or on the other hand resisting, the main ideas behind PRL.
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