Stephen L. Brock - "The Light That Binds" - Russell Hittinger, Matthew Levering, and Candace Vogler

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Stephen L. Brock

Stephen L. Brock will discuss The Light that Binds: A Study in Thomas Aquinas's Metaphysics of Natural Law. He will be joined in conversation by Russell Hittinger, Matthew Levering, and Candace Vogler.

Presented in partnership with Lumen Christi Institute

Register to attend in-person HERE
Register to attend virtually HERE

This is a hybrid event, and registration is required for both in-person and virtual participation. The in-person event will be held at Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture.

About the book: If there is any one author in the history of moral thought who has come to be associated with the idea of natural law, it is Saint Thomas Aquinas. Many things have been written about Aquinas's natural law teaching, and from many different perspectives. The aim of this book is to help see it from his own perspective. That is why the focus is metaphysical. Aquinas's whole moral doctrine is laden with metaphysics, and his natural law teaching especially so, because it is all about first principles. The book centers on how Aquinas thinks the first principles of practical reason, which for him are what make up natural law, function as laws. It is a controversial question, and the book engages a variety of readers of Aquinas, including Francisco Suarez, Jacques Maritain, prominent analytical philosophers, Straussians, and the initiators of the New Natural Law theory. Among the issues addressed are the relation between natural law and natural inclination, how far natural law depends on knowledge of human nature, what its obligatory force consists in, and, above all, how it is related to what for Aquinas is the first principle of all being, the divine will.

About the author: Stephen L. Brock is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei. He is Ordinary Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. Brock writes widely on Thomas Aquinas and action theory, ethics, and metaphysics. He is the author of The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. A Sketch (Wipf & Stock, 2015), Action & Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action (T&T Clark, 1998), and most recently, The Light that Binds: A Study in Thomas Aquinas's Metaphysics of Natural Law (Pickwick Publications, 2020). He is currently a visiting scholar in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago.

About the interlocutors: Russell Hittinger is Senior Fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute, visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Law at the University of Tulsa. He is also Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian AgeThomas Aquinas and the Rule of Law, and most recently Paper Wars: Catholic Social Doctrine and the Modern State (forthcoming).

Matthew Levering is the James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr. Chair of Theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He holds a B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.T.S. from Duke University, and a Ph.D. from Boston College. Levering is the author of numerous books, including Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation, Engaging the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Proofs of God, The Theology of Augustine, and Ezra & Nehemiah in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series. He serves as coeditor of the journals Nova et Vetera and the International Journal of Systematic Theology and is a member of the Academy of Catholic Theology and of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago. She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape: An Essay in Moral Psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas. Her research interests are in practical philosophy (particularly the strand of work in moral philosophy indebted to Elizabeth Anscombe), practical reason, Kant's ethics, Marx, and neo-Aristotelian naturalism. She was also a Principal Investigator on "Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life," a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation from 2015 to 2018.

Event Location: 
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture
1025 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637