Fundamental Moral Theology: Freedom and Human Action

JPI 548/748

This course takes up themes arising within fundamental moral theology. In what sense is moral theology really a theology? What role do desire, fulfillment, love, truth, beauty, and the invitation to communion (cf. Veritatis splendor, ch. 1) play in our grounding of moral theology? The course takes up the issue of the relationship between “norm-based” and “virtue-based” moral theology, as well as the different understandings of freedom and moral action that correlate with these different starting points. The course then takes up the foundation and meaning of natural law and the structure and character of moral action. The course addresses specific themes raised by Veritatis splendor, such as freedom and truth, conscience, fundamental option, proportionalism, the ecclesial setting for moral action, and the role of Church teaching. Readings include Veritatis splendor and texts drawn from J. Ratzinger, St. Thomas Aquinas, Kant, H. U. von Balthasar, S. Pinckaers, M. Rhonheimer, and L. Melina.


Course Texts for Fall 2021

  • Course compendium – available from Cognella
  • St. John Paul II, Veritatis splendor (Pauline Books, 1993: ISBN 978-0819826695)
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Sachs Translation: ISBN 978-1585100354)
  • Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge University Press, 1998: ISBN 978-0521626958)
  • J.S. Mill, Utilitarianism, 2d ed. (Hackett, 2002: 978-0872206052)
  • Joseph Ratzinger, On Conscience (Ignatius Press, 2007: ISBN 978-1586171605)
  • Servais Pinckaers, The Sources of Christian Ethics (CUA Press, 1995: ISBN 978-0813208183)
  • Veatch, Human Rights: Fact or Fancy? (LSU Press, 2007: ISBN 978-0807133217)

Associated Faculty

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