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What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide

J. Budziszewski (Ignatius Press; Rev Exp edition: February 15, 2011), 300 pages.

In this new revised edition of his groundbreaking work, Professor J. Budziszewski questions the modern assumption that moral truths are unknowable. With clear and logical arguments he rehabilitates the natural law tradition and restores confidence in a moral code based upon human nature. What We Can’t Not Know explains the rational foundation of what we all really know to be right and wrong and shows how that foundation has been kicked out from under western society. Having gone through stages of atheism and nihilism in his own search for truth, Budziszewski understands the philosophical and personal roots of moral relativism. With wisdom born of both experience and rigorous intellectual inquiry, he offers a firm foothold to those who are attempting either to understand or to defend the reasonableness of traditional morality. While natural law bridges the chasms that can be caused by religious and philosophical differences, Budziszewski believes that natural law theory has entered a new phase, in which theology will again have pride of place. While religious belief might appear to hamper the search for common ground, Budziszewski demonstrates that it is not an obstacle, but a pathway to apprehending universal norms of behavior. ~ Publisher’s Description

Table of Contents

    • Preface: Whom This Book Is For
    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction: The Moral Common Ground 3
  • I The Lost World
    • 1 Things We Can’t Not Know 19
    • 2 What It Is That We Can’t Not Know 28
    • 3 Could We Get By Knowing Less? 51
  • II Explaining the Lost World
    • 4 The First and Second Witnesses 77
    • 5 The Third and Fourth Witnesses 86
    • 6 Some Objections 107
  • III How the Lost World Was Lost
    • 7 Denial 139
    • 8 Eclipse 161
  • IV Recovering the Lost World
    • 9 The Public Relations of Moral Wrong 185
    • 10 The Public Relations of Moral Right 198
    • 11 Possible Futures 213
  • Appendix
    • App. 1 The Decalogue as a Summary of the Natural Law 221
    • App. 2 The Noahide Commandments as a Summary of the Natural Law 225
    • App. 3 Isaiah, David, and Paul on the Natural Law 227
    • App. 4 An Example of Enmity to Nature: The Redefinition of Pregnancy as a Disease 235
    • Notes 237
    • Index 250