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The Disfigured FaceTraditional Natural Law and Its Encounter with Modernity$
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Luis Cortest

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228539

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228539.001.0001

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Chapter Four: The Modern Way

Chapter Four: The Modern Way

(p.50) Chapter Four: The Modern Way
The Disfigured Face

Luis Cortest

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the most fundamental ideas that characterize modern human rights doctrine in Europe. In his Letter on Tolerance, John Locke emphasizes the role of the individual in matters of religious freedom. For Locke, religious doctrine is less important than freedom of conscience and mutual respect. Locke holds that civil and ecclesiastical matters should remain entirely separate. Meanwhile, Immanuel Kant adds a universal dimension to personal action and right. While the individual will is extremely important for Kant, the personal must always find its place within the context of the universal. However, for Kant, right does not conform to an ontological order, but rather to a rational order. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel took the argument concerning right to the next level. In the Hegelian system, reason is no longer merely conceptual or static; the rational becomes the actual. For Hegel, freedom is always a matter of choice.

Keywords:   Letter on Tolerance, human rights, religious doctrine, Kant, Hegel, freedom, John Locke, Reason

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