Robert P. George


Robert P. George

Robert P. George (born 1955) is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, where he lectures on constitutional interpretation, civil liberties and philosophy of law. He also serves as the director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He was educated at Swarthmore College (BA), Harvard Law School (JD), Harvard Divinity School (MTS), and New College, Oxford (DPhil). At Oxford he studied under John Finnis and Joseph Raz. Formerly, he served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and as a fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court. [http://www.fellows.supremecourtus.gov/] He currently serves on the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the editorial boards of Touchstone and First Things magazines, as well as several academic journals.

George is a prominent proponent of "New Natural Law Theory," a distinctive approach to moral, political, and legal philosophy that views moral truths as accessible to rational inquiry, and postulates as the criterion of sound ethical judgment the integral directiveness of various basic and irreducible aspects of human fulfillment, such as knowledge, friendship, critical aesthetic appreciation, and personal authenticity and integrity. Others in this school include Germain Grisez, John Finnis, and Joseph Boyle, Patrick Lee, Christopher Tollefsen, and Gerard V. Bradley. George is a leading voice for social conservatism within the secular academy, and, in addition to scholarly work, is involved in pro-life and pro-family advocacy.

George was involved in a highly publicized dispute with Martha Nussbaum of the University of Chicago relating to the case "Romer v. Evans" in which both scholars testified as experts in moral and political philosophy and civil rights. In his testimony, George cited Nussbaum’s own published work, among many other sources, as contradicting her testimony. Expanding on George’s allegations against Nussbaum, John Finnis published an article in Academic Questions making serious charges of academic dishonesty against her. [‘“Shameless Acts” in Colorado: Abuse of Scholarship in Constitutional Cases’, Academic Questions 7 (Fall 1994), 10–41.] Nussbaum, in an article published in the Virginia Law Review that included an appendix co-authored with classicist Kenneth Dover, rearticulated and defended her views. [Virginia Law Review, Vol. 80, No. 7 (Oct., 1994), pp. 1515-1651.] George then responded to Nussbaum in an article of his own in Academic Questions, noting that Nussbaum had not addressed the specific charges of dishonesty made against her. ['"Shameless Acts" Revisited: Some Questions for Martha Nussbaum', Academic Questions 9 (Winter 1995-96), 24-42.] He pointed out, as one of many examples, that although she had claimed under oath in a written submission to the court that Dover in the postscript to the second edition of his book Greek Homosexuality had revised his original statements about Plato’s negative view of homosexual sodomy, the fact is that the postscript makes no mention or reference to Plato whatsoever, and neither Nussbaum nor Dover offered any explanation for that.

He was one of four winners of the 2005 Bradley Awards for Civic and Intellectual Achievement. He is also a winner of the Sydney Hook Memorial Award of the National Association of Scholars and the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Liberal Arts of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. In 2007, he gave the annual John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy of Law at Harvard University, on the subject of natural law.

George, a Catholic, has influenced Protestant and observant Jewish scholars and religious leaders, as well as Catholics. Under the auspices of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, he has worked closely with such figures as Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and Rabbi David Novak. His natural law arguments for traditional moral principles have frequently been invoked by evangelical Christian figures such as James Dobson and Charles Colson.

Books

* "Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays", 1992. ISBN 0-19-823552-6
* "Making Men Moral", 1995. ISBN 0-19-826024-5
* "Natural Law and Moral Inquiry: Ethics, Metaphysics, and Politics in the Work of Germain Grisez", 1998. ISBN 0-87840-674-3
* "In Defense of Natural Law", 1999. ISBN 0-19-826771-1
* "The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism", 1999. ISBN 0-19-826790-8
* "Natural Law and Public Reason", 2000. ISBN 0-87840-766-9
* "Great Cases in Constitutional Law", 2000. ISBN 0-691-04952-1
* "The Clash of Orthodoxies", 2001. ISBN 1-882926-62-5
* "Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality" 2001. ISBN 0-19-924300-X
* "Constitutional Politics: Essays on Constitution Making, Maintenance, and Change", 2001 ISBN 0-691-08869-1
* "The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, And Morals", 2006 ISBN 1-890626-64-3
* "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life", 2008 ISBN 0385522827

Articles

*"Law, Democracy, and Moral Disagreement," Harvard Law Review, Vol. 110, pp. 1388-1406 (1997)

*"Public Reason and Political Conflict: Abortion and Homosexual Acts," Yale Law Journal, Vol. 106, pp. 2475-2504 (1997)

*"The Concept of Public Morality," American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 45, pp. 17-31 (2000)

*"Human Cloning and Embryo Research," Journal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 3-20 (2004)

Notes and references

External links

* [http://webdb.princeton.edu/dbtoolbox/query.asp?qname=vWebPage&NetID=rgeorge Basic information from Princeton]
* [http://web.princeton.edu/sites/jmadison/ Madison Program website]
* [http://www.crisismagazine.com/september2003/feature2.htm "Conservative Heavyweight: The Remarkable Mind of Robert P. George,"] by Anne Morse, "Crisis", September 1, 2003
* [http://radio.nationalreview.com/betweenthecovers/post/?q=MzM5YmIxNjk1MjkyZGM2OGMwMTIxOWZmZmIwYmJiM2I= Audio interview with National Review Online]
* [http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/George/ "Online Resources,"] collected by [http://www.RatzingerFanClub.com RatzingerFanClub.com] ; lists links to articles, addresses and interviews, book reviews, etc.
* [http://touchstonemag.com/archives/author.php?id=68 Articles in "Touchstone" magazine]


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