Law – Reason – Autonomy. Moral Teachings of John Paul II and the Modern Normative Approach.

The paper confronts two different perspectives of understanding the nature of normativity. The first one underpins the modern legal (and political) culture and is rooted in the broader intellectual context of the modern intellectual culture. The second one is rooted in the pre-modern intellectual context. Contemporarily, the later one might be found as a still binding paradigm in the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. A noteworthy exposition of this approach to normativity was presented in ‘Veritatis splendor’, an encyclical letter by the Pope John Paul II. The document will serve as a reference point in confrontation to the modern paradigm. The argument is that the key difference between the various approaches is based on the different way of understanding of human rationality and subsequently – human freedom. The paper attempts to explain this discrepancy and consequences thereof.

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