Mar 04, 2015
from 02:30 PM to 03:30 PM
|Where||The Lightfoot Room - Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge|
|Add event to calendar||
What are the foundations on which we live? What supports our societies and holds them together? In particular, how do states discern their moral bases and, consequently, also the normative sources that motivate them to moral practices, normative sources, such as human rights and their corresponding responsibilities, goods, such as truth and justice, objective values, such as human dignity, moral principles, without which a state cannot exist?
Some of these questions were raised in the context of answering the fundamental question that was put to the then Joseph Ratzinger, Cardinal-theologian, and now Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and Jürgen Habermas, who for decades has been a leading figure in German and Continental philosophy as a whole. This fundamental question is: Does the liberal secular state live from normative sources that it cannot guarantee itself? This fundamental question was originally raised in 1967 by the German Catholic Supreme Court jurist, Ernst Wolfgang Böckenförde. In their debate on January 19, 2004, which was hosted by the Bavarian Catholic Academy, Munich, Ratzinger and Habermas were called to address the topic of "Pre-political moral foundations in the construction of a free civil society, with specific reference to the democratic constitutional state."
Put differently, is the state itself the source of truth and morality? Can it produce the normative basis of human rights from its own self via democratic processes? Must the state recognize a higher norm? Do human beings govern only by participation in a higher law, by sharing in the care of divine providence for the common good? In sum, does the liberal state live from normative sources that it cannot guarantee itself?
This paper is now available online.
Professor Eduardo J. Echeverria received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Free University of Amsterdam and his S.T.L. from the University of St. Thomas, Rome. He is Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Echeverria is the author of Dialogue of Love: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic Ecumenist (2010); “In the Beginning…”: A Theology of the Body (2011); Berkouwer and Catholicism, Disputed Questions' (2012).
The event is part of the graduate seminar in Christian Theology at the Faculty of Divinity and it is jointly organised by the VHI and the KLICE.