Institute for Law and Philosophy and Institute for Law and Religion Present John M. Finnis

This event occurred in the past

Institute for Law and Philosophy and Institute for Law and Religion Present John M. Finnis

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

  • Friday, September 27, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.


Warren Hall, Grace Courtroom

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




Join the School of Law’s Institute for Law and Philosophy and Institute for Law and Religion as John Finnis presents:

"The Tradition of Reason and Justice"

Traditions are at the heart of successful natural sciences and, somewhat differently, of law. Max Weber’s distinction between traditional and rational authority – basic to his theory of law – needs modification. More importantly, there is a tradition, fundamentally though not exclusively philosophical, that considers itself the Tradition and seeks to be both reason and tradition. The Tradition flows from the Hebrew prophets, whose theses about creation, freedom, justice, and revelation proved to be sounder – more in line with reality – than the theses of the best Greek philosophers. Focusing on those four topics, the lecture will outline how this remarkable situation has become clearer in the light of what modern natural sciences disclose about reality. It will relate the intellectual situation to certain resultant, dependent concepts: revelation, faith, and doctrine. And it will point to some implications for the understanding of law, and of philosophies such as H.L.A. Hart’s and Ronald Dworkin’s.

About John Finnis

John Finnis is known for his work in moral, political and legal theory, as well as constitutional law. He joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 1995. Currently, Notre Dame shares Finnis with Oxford University, where he has held the positions of lecturer, reader and a chaired professor in law for almost four decades. In addition, he has served as associate in law at the University of California at Berkeley (1965-66), as professor of law at the University of Malawi (Africa) (1976-78) and as the Huber Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Boston College Law School (1993-94). He is admitted to the English Bar (Gray’s Inn). He earned his LL.B. from Adelaide University (Australia) in 1961 and his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1965. His service has included the Linacre Centre for Health Care Ethics (governor since 1981), the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Committee on Bioethical Issues (1981-88), the International Theological Commission (1986-92), the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (1990-95) and the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita (2001-present). He has published widely in law, legal theory, moral and political philosophy, moral theology and the history of the late Elizabethan era.

There is no charge to attend, but online registration is requested. 

A reception will follow the lecture.

Register online now

Driving and parking instructions to Warren Hall

Parking is available in the Mission Parking Structure (across from the main entrance kiosk) and the law school parking lot. Please allow ample time to park, as campus traffic may be impacted by other large events.


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5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110