As we enter a new millennium, calls for the renewal of America abound. There is a widespread belief that something is amiss, that the nation is in a period of moral and cultural decline. We still speak of Western civilization, and it remains a reality even though its spiritual foundation has been under siege within Western intellectual circles for more than two centuries.
In Western Creed, Western Identity, Jude P. Dougherty investigates the classical roots of Western culture and its religious sources in an effort to define its underlying intellectual and spiritual commitments. The essays were written from a single vantage point, one that has come to be identified with Thomas Aquinas, although the natural law outlook they represent is older than Aquinas. While they are the reflections of a spectator formed in the Catholic tradition, they are not theological in character. They are meant to be observations and judgments that can be appreciated by readers who may not identify with that tradition.
The first part of the volume examines the role of religion in society. Dougherty considers the views of Karl Marx and John Dewey, contrasting them with those of Jacques Maritain and John Courtney Murray. The second part of the book examines the nature of the law and the relation between civil law and natural law. Contemporary legal issues bearing upon the assignment of responsibility are addressed in an essay on collective responsibility and in another on the assignment of blame within the context of tort law. Responsibility and punishment are examined within the same framework. The final section brings together a number of essays on the relation of faith and reason. One essay follows the intellectual journey of Edith Stein, another the thought of Jacques Maritain from the beginning of his career to his final works. John Paul II's Fides et Ratio as a defense of reason and the reasonableness of faith is also discussed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jude P. Dougherty, dean emeritus of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, is editor of the Review of Metaphysics and general editor of the Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy series published by CUA Press.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"Exceptionally well written.... Students of American thought, whether from the general public or the academy, will find the book of interest. Dougherty shows again and again how and where a disciplined metaphysics can provide new and useful perspectives on important legal and social issues. This is not a book of advocacy. It is instead a clear, consistent statement of the continuing relevance of a powerful theological tradition."—Perspectives on Political Science
"These essays serve as timely reminders of the virtue or order, of the rule of law, of moral responsibility in life and work, of the function of religion in society, and of the beneficences that accrue when the contemplative way is not excluded from a viable place within the active life."—Modern Age
"Dougherty brings together formidable erudition and wisdom in a convincing affirmation of the credal basis of the culture of the West."—First Things
"What one is struck by in reading Dougherty is the firm way in which he places himself in the context when he writes. Thus the essays are written with a lively sense of the times...."—From the Foreword by Prof. Ralph McInerny
"Dougherty demonstrates that neglect of the Western creed has caused the erosion of American legal institutions and a host of negative social consequences.... His work is unique and original in combining natural law, Catholic social thought, and contemporary jurisprudence. It will appeal to those interested in philosophy, the Catholic intellectual tradition, Catholic social thought, natural law, and legal and political phi