The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Law


“One of the defining features of contemporary moral philosophy in nearly all its guises is the lack of serious concern for metaphysics—not as a discipline in itself, but as a necessary foundation for ethics. One should not mistake the fashionable project of “evolutionary ethics” for an attempt to tie morals to metaphysics, rather than seeing it more accurately as a program for burying ethics in the quicksand of current biological fan- cy. Nor should one, for instance, see in existentialism a serious concern for metaphysical underpinnings rather than what amounts to no more than a series of denials of the truths that used to undergird moral think- ing.2 Again, one sees in the various forms of liberal ethics that dominate the academy—consequentialism, contractualism, deontology—an almost”