Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
philosophy masthead
David Sosa, Chair 2210 Speedway, WAG 316, Stop C3500, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4857

J. Budziszewski

Professor Ph.D., Yale University

J. Budziszewski

Contact

Biography

Professor Budziszewski specializes in political philosophy, ethical philosophy, and the interaction of religion with philosophy. Among his research interests are classical natural law, virtue ethics, moral self deception, family and sexuality, and the problem of toleration.

His books include The Resurrection of Nature: Political Theory and the Human Character (Cornell, 1986), The Nearest Coast of Darkness: A Vindication of the Politics of Virtues (Cornell, 1988), True Tolerance: Liberalism and the Necessity of Judgment (Transaction, 1992), Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law (InterVarsity, 1997), The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man (Spence, 1999), Evangelicals in the Public Square (Baker Academic, 2006), Natural Law for Lawyers (Blackstone Fellowship, 2006), The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction (Intercollegiate Studies Institute Press, 2009), What We Can't Not Know: A Guide (2d ed. Ignatius, 2011), and On the Meaning of Sex(Intercollegiate Studies Institute Press, 2012). His newest book is Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Interests

See biography

PHL 342 • Natural Law Theory

41989 • Spring 2015
Meets MW 330pm-500pm CLA 0.106
(also listed as GOV 335M )
show description

GOV 335M / PHL 342:

NATURAL LAW THEORY

Professor J. Budziszewski

 

Unique numbers:      Gov unique number 37895, Phl unique number pending

Class meets:              MW 3:30-5:00pm in CLA 0.106

Prof's office hours:   M 12:00-3:00pm in MEZ 3.106

Prof’s email:             jbud@undergroundthomist.org

Prof’s office phone:  232-7229; phone does not record messages; email strongly preferred

Course website:        Blackboard (subject to change)

Prof’s website:          The Underground Thomist, http://www.undergroundthomist.org

 

PREREQUISITES, FLAGS, AND FIELD

 

If the course is taken as Gov 335M, enrollment requires six semester hours of lower-division government; it can also be taken as Phl 342, but seats in that section are limited.  It carries a writing flag and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing.  Within the Government Department, its field is Political Theory.

 

DESCRIPTION

 

“Natural law” refers to moral law – in particular, the fundamental moral principles that are built into the design of human nature and lie at the roots of conscience.  Natural law thinking is the spine of the Western tradition of jurisprudence.  Historically, it has provided the basis for talking about all of the 'hot button' issues in past and present culture wars; if you wanted to talk about war, slavery, political liberty, or relations between men and women, you talked about natural law.  The distinctive mark of natural law thinking is that it begins from what the mind can know about these things by reasoning alone, rather than by the authority of revelation.  This in no ways denies revelation, for although the earliest natural law thinkers were pagans, the most influential natural law thinkers have been Christians who held that reason and revelation work together.

 

The founders of the American republic believed in the natural law -- in universal and "self-evident" principles of justice and morality which the Declaration of Independence called "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God."   For generations afterward, most Americans took the reality of natural law for granted.  The Declaration of Independence had appealed to it to justify independence; Abraham Lincoln appealed to it to criticize slavery; Martin Luther King appealed to it to criticize racial discrimination.  You would hardly guess any of this from the present day, because belief in natural law has come to be viewed as "politically incorrect."  Nevertheless, the tradition of natural law is experiencing a modest renaissance.

 

Is there really a natural law?  What difference does it make to society and politics if there is?  Is it really "natural"?  Is it really "law"?  To consider these questions, we will read a variety of influential works on natural law from the middle ages to the present.  Probably, most of your liberal arts education has implicitly rejected the whole idea, but in this course, for a change, you have an opportunity to hear the other side.

 

REQUIREMENTS

 

For Unit 1, a required analytical outline (20%).  For Units 2, 3, and 4, take-home essays (20% apiece).  Short-answer quizzes (20%).  Extra credit for analytical outlines for Units 2, 3, and 4 (up to 5 points per unit, added to exam grades).

 

TEXTS

 

Recommended:

 

J. Budziszewski, What We Can't Not Know: A Guide.  On reserve at the Perry-Castaneda Library.  Can be purchased online if you want to have a personal copy.

 

J. Budziszewski, Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law.  Electronic resource available through Perry-Castaneda Library.  Can be purchased online if you want to have a personal copy.

 

J. Budziszewski, Companion to the Commentary.  Free online resource available through the Resource link at the Cambridge University Press catalogue page for the Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law.

 

Required:

 

C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of ManOn reserve at the Perry-Castaneda Library.  Also online at https://archive.org/details/TheAbolitionOfMan_229 .

 

Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law.  Available online at http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2.htm (scroll down to LAW, and read Questions 90-97, entire, and 105, Article 1 only).

 

Readings packet.  Available for purchase at the UT Copy Center, McCombs 3.136, phone: 471-8281.  McCombs is the Business School building, right behind Mezes Hall.

 

Additional online readings listed on the Contents page of the readings packet.

 

UNITS

 

Unit 1:  Introduction to the Concept

Unit 2:  The Classical Synthesis

Unit 3:  The American Reception of Natural Law Tradition

Unit 4:  Contemporary Writing by Natural Law Theorists

PHL 387 • Aquinas: Treaties On Law

43163 • Fall 2014
Meets M 1230pm-330pm BAT 1.104
show description

 

PREREQUISITES

 

Graduate standing.

 

DESCRIPTION

 

Thomas Aquinas is regarded by more than a few scholars as one of the two or three greatest philosophers and theologians in Western history, as well as one of the most illuminating students of Augustine and Aristotle.  His Treatise on Law is the locus classicus of the natural law tradition, and indispensable for anyone seriously interested in ethical philosophy, political philosophy, jurisprudence, natural law, or the interaction of faith and reason in each of these areas.  Though it is brief, as treatises go, it is not the sort of book one can browse through an evening, and requires close reading.

 

Written in the form of a scholastic disputation, the Treatise takes up 19 disputed questions, for example whether there is such a thing as natural law and whether one may disobey unjust laws.  We will close study each of the first eight (qq. 90-97), as well as a few selections from the other eleven (qq, 98-108), taking them up in sequence and in context.  I say “in context” because the Treatise is but a single part of a much larger work, the Summa Theologiae, which takes up a variety of related matters including the ultimate purpose of human life, the nature of human acts, the passions, the virtues, and the vices.  I do not expect you to be familiar with the whole Summa; we will explore the connections as necessary.

 

GRADING POLICY

 

Research paper:  2/3.  Vigorous participation in seminar:  1/3.

 

TEXTS

 

J. Budziszewski, Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’ Treatise on Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014).  This is really a double book, because it comes with free access by password to the online Companion to the Commentary.  The Companion provides additional commentary and extended thematic discussion.

 

If publication is delayed, I will make sure that students receive copyedited proofs.  You don’t need to purchase a separate copy of the Treatise on Law, since the text is included in the Commentary itself.  However, a version of the Treatise with Latin and English in parallel columns can be found at http://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FS.html#TOC09 .

PHL 342 • Natural Law Theory

43387 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 330pm-500pm CLA 1.104
(also listed as GOV 335M )
show description

Prerequisites, Flags, and Field

If the course is taken as Gov 335M, enrollment requires six semester hours of lower-division government; it can also be taken as Phl 342, but seats in that section are limited.  It carries a writing flag and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing.  Within the Government Department, its field is Political Theory.

 

Description

“Natural law” refers to moral law – in particular, the fundamental moral principles that are built into the design of human nature and lie at the roots of conscience.  Natural law thinking is the spine of the Western tradition of jurisprudence.  Historically, it has provided the basis for talking about all of the 'hot button' issues in past and present culture wars; if you wanted to talk about war, slavery, political liberty, or relations between men and women, you talked about natural law.  The distinctive mark of natural law thinking is that it begins from what the mind can know about these things by reasoning alone, rather than by the authority of revelation.  This in no ways denies revelation, for although the earliest natural law thinkers were pagans, the most influential natural law thinkers have been Christians who held that reason and revelation work together.

The founders of the American republic believed in the natural law -- in universal and "self-evident" principles of justice and morality which the Declaration of Independence called "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God."   For generations afterward, most Americans took the reality of natural law for granted.  The Declaration of Independence had appealed to it to justify independence; Abraham Lincoln appealed to it to criticize slavery; Martin Luther King appealed to it to criticize racial discrimination.  You would hardly guess any of this from the present day, because belief in natural law has come to be viewed as "politically incorrect."  Nevertheless, the tradition of natural law is experiencing a modest renaissance.

Is there really a natural law?  What difference does it make to society and politics if there is?  Is it really "natural"?  Is it really "law"?  To consider these questions, we will read a variety of influential works on natural law from the middle ages to the present.  Probably, most of your liberal arts education has implicitly rejected the whole idea, but in this course, for a change, you have an opportunity to hear the other side.

 

Requirements

For Unit 1, a required analytical outline (20%).  For Units 2, 3, and 4, take-home essays (20% apiece).  Short-answer quizzes (20%).  Extra credit for analytical outlines for Units 2, 3, and 4 (up to 5 points per unit, added to exam grades).

 

TEXTS

You must bring copies of the readings to class, even if only photocopies or printouts.

 

Recommended:

1.  J. Budziszewski, What We Can't Not Know: A Guide (purchase or read on PCL reserve)

 

Required:

2.  C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (purchase or read online)

3.  Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law (purchase or read online)

4.  Robert P. George, The Clash of Orthodoxies

5.  Russell Hittinger, The First Grace

6.  Short readings packet.

7.  Online readings listed in the readings packet

 

UNITS

Unit 1:  Introduction to the Concept

Unit 2:  The Classical Synthesis

Unit 3:  The American Reception of Natural Law Tradition

Unit 4:  Contemporary Work in Natural Law Theory

PHL 387 • Aquinas: Treaties On Law

43212 • Fall 2013
Meets M 1230pm-330pm BAT 1.104
(also listed as GOV 382M )
show description

Prerequisites

 

Graduate standing.

 

Course Description

 

Thomas Aquinas is regarded by more than a few scholars as one of the two or three greatest philosophers and theologians in Western history, as well as one of the most illuminating students of Augustine and Aristotle.  His Treatise on Law is the locus classicus of the natural law tradition, and indispensable for anyone seriously interested in ethical philosophy, political philosophy, jurisprudence, natural law, or the respective roles of faith and reason in each of these areas.  Though it is brief, as treatises go, it is not the sort of book one can browse through an evening, and requires close reading.

 

Written in the form of a scholastic disputation, the Treatise takes up 19 disputed questions, for example whether there is such a thing as natural law and whether one may disobey unjust laws.  We will close study each of the first eight (qq. 90-97), as well as a few selections from the other eleven (qq, 98-108), taking them up in sequence and in context.  I say “in context” because the Treatise is but a single part of a much larger work, the Summa Theologiae, which takes up a variety of related matters including the ultimate purpose of human life, the nature of human acts, the passions, the virtues, and the vices.  I do not expect you to be familiar with the whole Summa; we will explore the connections as necessary.

 

Grading Policy

 

Research paper:  2/3.  Vigorous participation in seminar:  1/3.

 

Texts

 

You do not have to purchase the text, because we will be using the Blackfriars translation, which is in the public domain and can be read in various locations on the internet.  For English only, go to http://www.newadvent.org/summa , scroll down and click onSecunda Secundæ Partis” (which means “second part of the second part”), then scroll down again to the section entitled “Law” and select the question that you want.  Latin and English in parallel columns are also available on the internet, and if you want a hard copy, a number of inexpensive printed editions are published, any of which are acceptable so long as they include all of qq. 90-108.  If you would like to compare the Blackfriars translation with a more recent one, I would suggest Alfred J. Freddoso, Treatise on Law: The Complete Text.

PHL 387 • Natural Law Tradition

42637 • Fall 2011
Meets M 1230pm-330pm BAT 1.104
(also listed as GOV 382M )
show description

PREREQUISITES

Graduate standing.

DESCRIPTION

Briefly:  This seminar is designed not only for grad students specializing in Political Theory, but also for several other constituencies in Government, Philosophy, and Law, as explained in the third paragraph, below. It considers the concept of natural law; its sources; the classical synthesis; the modern unraveling of this synthesis; its unexpected contemporary revival; and its critics.  Is there really a natural law?  What difference does it make if there is?  Is it really “natural,” and really “law”?  What are its implications for government, ethics, and jurisprudence?  Can it answer its critics?  Can it do the theoretical and cultural work that some of its proponents hope that it can?

Seminar context:  Ancient and medieval political thinkers held that a humane political order must be grounded on what is naturally good for human beings.  Though for a time they continued to use the older terminology, modern political thinkers increasingly denied that what the classical tradition called "natural law" was truly natural, or -- even if it was truly natural -- that it was truly law.  However, the concept of natural law has continued to exert influence in a number of areas, and our own times have witnessed a modest renaissance and reformation of the classical natural law tradition.

Philosophy students may be interested because of the connection of natural law theory with the revival of neo-Aristotelian and Thomistic meta-ethics. International Relations students may be interested because of the influence of natural law theory on international law, international human rights jurisprudence, international organization, and just war theory.  Comparative Politics students may be interested because of the bearing of natural law theory on the question of cross-cultural universals. Public Law and American Political Development students may be interested because of the influence of natural law theory on American constitutional traditions.  Public Law and Public Policy students may be interested because of how natural law theory addresses the question of whether public moral norms have a rational basis, rather than being arbitrary and invidious.

UNITS

 (1) An Introduction to the Concept Of Natural Law; (2) Some Early Statements of Natural Law; (3) The Classical Synthesis; (4) Late Medieval and Early Modern Experiments and Departures; (5) Natural Law, International Law, and War) I; (6) Natural Law, International Law, and War, II; (7) Natural Law and Human Rights; (8) The American Reception of the Natural Law Tradition; (9) Natural Law in American Jurisprudence; (10) Some Influential Rejections; (11) Various Kinds of Defenses; (12) The Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic Reception of the Natural Law Tradition; and (13) The Catholic Church on the Natural Law Tradition.

GRADING

Research paper:                        2/3Vigorous participation in seminar:                1/3

Students are encouraged to choose research topics that connect natural law theory to their own areas of specialization.

TEXTS

The readings include carefully selected, non-overwhelming excerpts from a large number of authors from ancient times to the present.  All of the readings will be either online or on PCL reserve.  No purchases are required; however) copies of two of my own books) What We Can't Not Know: A Guide (rev. ed.) 2011.) and The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact) Theory) and Sign of Contradiction (2009) will be available at the bookstore in case anyone does wish to purchase them.

PHL 342 • Natural Law Theory

43073 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 2.202
(also listed as GOV 335M )
show description

 

DESCRIPTION

REQUIREMENTS

For Unit 1, a required analytical outline (20%). For Units 2, 3, and 4, take-home essays (20% apiece). Short-answer quizzes (20%). Extra credit for analytical outlines for Units 2, 3, and 4 (up to 5 points per unit, added to exam grades).

TEXTS

RECOMMENDED:

(1) J. Budziszewski, What We Can't Not Know: A Guide. REQUIRED: (2) C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man. (3) Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law. (4) Robert P. George, The Clash of Orthodoxies. (5) Russell Hittinger, The First Grace. (6) Short readings packet available from the UT Copy Center, McCombs 3.136, phone: 471-8281. McCombs is the Business School building, right behind my own building, Mezes. Readings 1-5 are also on reserve at the Perry-Castaneda Library. Lewis is also online at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition1.htm , and a version of Aquinas is also online at http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2.htm (scroll down to LAW, and read Questions 90-97). However, you must have copies to bring to class, even if only photocopies or printouts.

 

"Natural law" means moral law -- fundamental moral principles that are built into the design of human nature and lie at the roots of conscience. Historically, natural law thinking provided the basis for talking about all of the 'hot button' issues in past and present culture wars. If you wanted to talk about war, slavery, political liberty, or relations between men and women, you talked about natural law. The distinctive mark of natural law thinking is that it begins from what the mind can know about these things by reasoning alone, not from the authority of revelation. The founders of our own republic believed in the natural law -- in universal and "self-evident" principles of justice and morality that the Declaration of Independence called "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God." For generations, Americans took the reality of natural law for granted. The Declaration of Independence appealed to it to justify independence; Abraham Lincoln appealed to it to criticize slavery; Martin Luther King appealed to it to criticize racial discrimination. You would hardly guess any of this from the present day, because belief in natural law has come to be viewed as "politically incorrect." Nevertheless, the tradition of natural law is experiencing a sort of renaissance, and books about it are pouring off the presses.

Is there really a natural law? What difference does it make to society and politics if there is? Is it really "natural"? Is it really "law"? To consider these questions, we will read a variety of influential works on natural law from the middle ages to the present. Probably, most of your liberal arts education has implicitly rejected the whole idea. In this course you have an opportunity to hear the other side for a change.

PHL 387 • Studies In Polit Thry & Philos

43347 • Spring 2010
Meets M 1230pm-330pm BAT 5.102
(also listed as GOV 382K )
show description

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

The seminar will be a study in the history of modern philosophical treatments of emotions. The focus will be on how the study of emotions developed from a study within moral philosophy to a scientific study.

Grading

The course grade will be based on a seminar paper and participation in seminar discussion. The paper will be the chief factor in determining the grade.

Texts

Descartes: The Passions of the Soul

Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature, book II

William James, The Principles of Psychology, chapter 25

Paul Griffiths, What Emotions Really Are

Martha Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought, chapter 1

 This course satisfies the Ethics requirement

bottom border