We live in what appears at first glance to be a highly skeptical age, one characterized by moral relativism in public discourse and ‘value-freedom’ in science. But is this really the case? Hadley Arkes believes that, despite many people’s protest to the contrary, what they do is informed–perhaps unwittingly–by an understanding of natural law. In this wide-ranging conversation, the founding director of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding unpacks this paradox as explored in his new book, Mere Natural Law: Originalism and the Anchoring Truths of the Constitution.


-What is natural law and what sort of alternative does it provide to skepticism?

-Why is there hostility or disinterest in natural law today among both self-styled progressive and conservative jurists?

-Why do contemporary criticisms of natural law fall flat?

-Where can natural law principles contribute to clarifying and answering contentious moral and legal debates of our time?

– Why are comedians the best expositors of natural law principles?


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About Hadley Arkes


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