natural law
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of
human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental dispositions and characteristics—including ways of Thought, thinking, feeling, and agency (philosophy), acting—that Homo sapiens, humans are said to have nature (philosophy), naturally. Th ...

human nature
, and based on values intrinsic to human nature that can be deduced and applied independently of
positive law Positive laws ( la, links=no, ius positum) are human-made laws that oblige or specify an action. Positive law also describes the establishment of specific rights for an individual or group. Etymologically, the name derives from the verb ''to posit ...
(the express enacted laws of a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, U ...
or
society A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political Politics (from , ) is the set of activitie ...

society
). According to natural law theory (called jusnaturalism), all people have inherent rights, conferred not by act of legislation but by "
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...

God
,
nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the physics, physical world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomenon, phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. ...

nature
, or
reason Reason is the capacity of Consciousness, consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclusions from new or existing information, with the aim of seeking the truth. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activ ...
." Natural law theory can also refer to "theories of
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of morality, right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, alo ...

ethics
, theories of politics, theories of civil law, and theories of religious morality." In the Western tradition, it was anticipated by the pre-Socratics, for example in their search for principles that governed the cosmos and human beings. The concept of natural law was documented in
ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Em ...
, including
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
, and was referred to in ancient Roman philosophy by
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
. References to it are also to be found in the Old and
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
s of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...

Bible
, and were later expounded upon in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
by Christian philosophers such as Albert the Great and
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
. The School of Salamanca made notable contributions during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...

Renaissance
. Although the central ideas of natural law had been part of Christian thought since the Roman Empire, the foundation for natural law as a consistent system was laid by Aquinas, as he synthesised ideas from his predecessors and condensed them into his "Lex Naturalis" (lit. "Natural law"). St. Thomas argues that because human beings have
reason Reason is the capacity of Consciousness, consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclusions from new or existing information, with the aim of seeking the truth. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activ ...
, and because reason is a spark of the divine (see
image of God The image of God (; ) is a concept and theological doctrine in Christianity, as well as in Judaism. This concept is a foundational aspect of Christian and Jewish understandings of human nature. It stems from the primary text in Genesis 1:27, which ...
), all human lives are sacred and of infinite value compared to any other created object, meaning all humans are fundamentally equal and bestowed with an intrinsic basic set of rights that no human can remove. Modern natural law theories took shape in the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment or the Enlightenment; german: Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie, "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, La Ilustración, "Enlightenment" was an intel ...
, combining inspiration from
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
, Christian scholastic philosophy, and contemporary concepts such as
social contract In moral and political philosophy, the social contract is a theory or model that originated during the Age of Enlightenment and usually, although not always, concerns the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Soci ...
theory. It was used in challenging the theory of the
divine right of kings In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God's mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy. It stems from a specific Metaphysics, metaphysical framework in which a monarch ...
, and became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, and
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...

government
—and thus legal rights—in the form of
classical republicanism Classical republicanism, also known as civic republicanism or civic humanism, is a form of republicanism developed in the Renaissance inspired by the governmental forms and writings of classical antiquity, especially such classical writers as Ar ...
. In the early decades of the 21st century, the concept of natural law is closely related to the concept of
natural rights Some philosophers distinguish two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental right ...
. Indeed, many
philosopher A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Suc ...

philosopher
s,
jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholar, mostly (but not always) with a formal qualification in law and often a legal practitioner. In the U ...
s and scholars use natural law synonymously with natural rights ( la, ius naturale), or
natural justice In English law, natural justice is technical terminology for the rule against bias (''nemo iudex in causa sua'') and the right to a fair hearing (''audi alteram partem''). While the term ''natural justice'' is often retained as a general conc ...
, though others distinguish between natural law and natural right. Because of the intersection between natural law and natural rights, natural law has been claimed or attributed as a key component in the
Act of Abjuration The Act of Abjuration ( nl, Plakkaat van Verlatinghe; es, Acta de Abjuración, lit=placard of abjuration) is the declaration of independence by many of the provinces of the Netherlands from the allegiance to Philip II of Spain, during the Dut ...
(1581) of the
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...

Netherlands
, the
Declaration of Independence A declaration of independence or declaration of statehood or proclamation of independence is an assertion by a polity in a defined territory that it is independence, independent and constitutes a Sovereign state, state. Such places are usually d ...

Declaration of Independence
(1776) of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, the
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (french: Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789, links=no), set by France's National Constituent Assembly (France), National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human right ...
(1789) of
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...

France
, the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pr ...
(1948) of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
, as well as the
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by th ...
(1953) of the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...

Council of Europe
.


History


Ancient Greece


Plato

Although
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...

Plato
did not have an explicit theory of natural law (he rarely used the phrase 'natural law' except in ''
Gorgias Gorgias (; grc-gre, wikt:Γοργίας, Γοργίας; 483–375 BC) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek sophist, pre-Socratic philosophy, philosopher, and rhetorician who was a native of Leontinoi in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms ...
'' 484 and '' Timaeus'' 83e), his concept of nature, according to John Wild, contains some of the elements found in many natural law theories. According to Plato, we live in an orderly universe. The basis of this orderly universe or nature are the
forms Form is the shape, visual appearance, or :wikt:configuration, configuration of an object. In a wider sense, the form is the way something happens. Form also refers to: *Form (document), a document (printed or electronic) with spaces in which to ...
, most fundamentally the
Form of the Good "Form of the Good", or more literally "the idea of the good" () is a concept in the philosophy of Plato. The definition of the Good is a perfect, eternal, and changeless Form, existing outside space and time. It is a Platonic ideal. Uses in ''T ...
, which Plato describes as "the brightest region of Being." The Form of the Good is the cause of all things, and when it is seen it leads a person to act wisely. In the ''
Symposium In ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical ...
'', the Good is closely identified with the Beautiful. In the ''Symposium'', Plato describes how the experience of the Beautiful by
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher from Classical Athens, Athens who is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and among the first moral philosophers of the Ethics, ethical tradition of thought. An enigmati ...

Socrates
enabled him to resist the temptations of wealth and sex. In the ''
Republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...
'', the ideal community is "a city which would be established in accordance with nature."


Aristotle

Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period and Ancient Roman philosophy, the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were ...
emphasized the distinction between "nature" (''physis'', ''φúσις'') on the one hand and "law," "custom," or " convention" (''nomos'', ''νóμος'') on the other. What the law commanded would be expected to vary from place to place, but what was "by nature" should be the same everywhere. A "law of nature" would therefore have the flavor more of a paradox than something that obviously existed. Against the
conventionalism Conventionalism is the philosophy, philosophical attitude that fundamental principles of a certain kind are grounded on (explicit or implicit) agreements in society, rather than on external reality. Unspoken rule, Unspoken rules play a key role in ...
that the distinction between nature and custom could engender, Socrates and his philosophic heirs, Plato and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
, posited the existence of natural justice or natural right (''dikaion physikon'', ''δίκαιον φυσικόν'',
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

Latin
''ius naturale''). Of these, Aristotle is often said to be the father of natural law. Aristotle's association with natural law may be due to the interpretation given to his works by
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
. But whether Aquinas correctly read Aristotle is in dispute. According to some, Aquinas conflates natural law and natural right, the latter of which Aristotle posits in Book V of the ''
Nicomachean Ethics The ''Nicomachean Ethics'' (; ; grc, Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, ) is Aristotle's best-known work on ethics, the science of the good for human life, which is Teleology, the goal or end at which all our actions aim. (I§2) The aim of the i ...
'' (Book IV of the '' Eudemian Ethics''). According to this interpretation, Aquinas's influence was such as to affect a number of early translations of these passages in an unfortunate manner, though more recent translations render those more literally. Aristotle notes that
natural justice In English law, natural justice is technical terminology for the rule against bias (''nemo iudex in causa sua'') and the right to a fair hearing (''audi alteram partem''). While the term ''natural justice'' is often retained as a general conc ...
is a species of political justice, specifically the scheme of distributive and corrective justice that would be established under the best political community; were this to take the form of law, this could be called a natural law, though Aristotle does not discuss this and suggests in the ''
Politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of res ...
'' that the best regime may not rule by law at all. The best evidence of Aristotle's having thought there was a natural law comes from the ''
Rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
'', where Aristotle notes that, aside from the "particular" laws that each people has set up for itself, there is a "common" law that is according to nature. Specifically, he quotes
Sophocles Sophocles (; grc, wikt:Σοφοκλῆς, Σοφοκλῆς, , Sophoklễs; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three classical Greece, ancient Greek tragedy, tragedians, at least one of whose plays has survived in fu ...

Sophocles
and Empedocles:
Universal law is the law of Nature. For there really is, as every one to some extent divines, a natural justice and injustice that is binding on all men, even on those who have no association or covenant with each other. It is this that Sophocles'
Antigone In Greek mythology, Antigone ( ; Ancient Greek: Ἀντιγόνη) is the daughter of Oedipus and either his mother Jocasta or, in another variation of the myth, Euryganeia. She is a sister of Polynices, Eteocles, and Ismene.Roman, L., & Roman ...
clearly means when she says that the burial of Polyneices was a just act in spite of the prohibition: she means that it was just by nature: :"Not of to-day or yesterday it is, :But lives eternal: none can date its birth." And so
Empedocles Empedocles (; grc-gre, wikt:Ἐμπεδοκλῆς, Ἐμπεδοκλῆς; , 444–443 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a native citizen of Akragas, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for ...

Empedocles
, when he bids us kill no living creature, he is saying that to do this is not just for some people, while unjust for others: :"Nay, but, an all-embracing law, through the realms of the sky :Unbroken it stretcheth, and over the earth's immensity."
Some critics believe that the context of this remark suggests only that Aristotle advised that it could be rhetorically advantageous to appeal to such a law, especially when the "particular" law of one's own city was averse to the case being made, not that there actually was such a law. Moreover, they claim that Aristotle considered two of the three candidates for a universally valid, natural law provided in this passage to be wrong. Aristotle's paternity of natural law tradition is consequently disputed.


Stoic natural law

The development of this tradition of
natural justice In English law, natural justice is technical terminology for the rule against bias (''nemo iudex in causa sua'') and the right to a fair hearing (''audi alteram partem''). While the term ''natural justice'' is often retained as a general conc ...
into one of natural law is usually attributed to the
Stoics Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century Common Era, BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asser ...
. The rise of natural law as a universal system coincided with the rise of large empires and kingdoms in the Greek world. Whereas the "higher" law that Aristotle suggested one could appeal to was emphatically
natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the physics, physical world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomenon, phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. ...
, in contradistinction to being the result of positive
legislation Legislation is the process or result of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating laws by a legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign st ...
, the Stoic natural law was indifferent to either the natural or divine source of the law: the Stoics asserted the existence of a rational and purposeful order to the universe (a divine or
eternal law Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...
), and the means by which a rational being lived in accordance with this order was the natural law, which inspired actions that accorded with virtue. As the English historian A. J. Carlyle (1861–1943) notes:
There is no change in political theory so startling in its completeness as the change from the theory of Aristotle to the later philosophical view represented by Cicero and Seneca ... We think that this cannot be better exemplified than with regard to the theory of the equality of human nature." Charles H. McIlwain likewise observes that "the idea of the equality of men is the most profound contribution of the Stoics to political thought" and that "its greatest influence is in the changed conception of law that in part resulted from it.
Natural law first appeared among the stoics who believed that God is everywhere and in everyone (see classical pantheism). According to this belief, within humans there is a "divine spark" which helps them to live in accordance with nature. The stoics felt that there was a way in which the universe had been designed, and that natural law helped us to harmonise with this.


Ancient Rome

In the Fifth Book of his History of the Roman Republic
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
puts a formulation of the Natural Law into the mouth of
Marcus Furius Camillus Marcus Furius Camillus (; c. 446 – 365 BC) was a Roman soldier and statesman of the Patrician (ancient Rome), patrician class. According to Livy and Plutarch, Camillus Roman triumph, triumphed four times, was five times Roman dictator, dictat ...
during the siege of the Falerii "You, villain, have not come with your villainous offer to a nation or a commander like yourself. Between us and the Faliscans there is no fellowship based on a formal compact as between man and man, but the fellowship which is based on natural instincts exists between us, and will continue to do so. There are rights of war as there are rights of peace, and we have learnt to wage our wars with justice no less than with courage. We do not use our weapons against those of an age which is spared even in the capture of cities, but against those who are armed as we are, and who without any injury or provocation from us attacked the Roman camp at Veii. These men you, as far as you could, have vanquished by an unprecedented act of villainy; I shall vanquish them as I vanquished Veii, by Roman arts, by courage and strategy and force of arms."
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
wrote in his '' De Legibus'' that both justice and law originate from what nature has given to humanity, from what the human mind embraces, from the function of humanity, and from what serves to unite humanity. For Cicero, natural law obliges us to contribute to the general good of the larger society. The purpose of positive laws is to provide for "the safety of citizens, the preservation of states, and the tranquility and happiness of human life." In this view, "wicked and unjust statutes" are "anything but 'laws,'" because "in the very definition of the term 'law' there inheres the idea and principle of choosing what is just and true." Law, for Cicero, "ought to be a reformer of vice and an incentive to virtue." Cicero expressed the view that "the virtues which we ought to cultivate, always tend to our own happiness, and that the best means of promoting them consists in living with men in that perfect union and charity which are cemented by mutual benefits." In ''
De Re Publica ''De re publica'' (''On the Commonwealth''; see De re publica#Title, below) is a dialogue#Literature, dialogue on Roman politics by Cicero, written in six books between 54 and 51 BC. The work does not survive in a complete state, and large parts a ...
'', he writes: Cicero influenced the discussion of natural law for many centuries to come, up through the era of the American Revolution. The jurisprudence of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
was rooted in Cicero, who held "an extraordinary grip ... upon the imagination of posterity" as "the medium for the propagation of those ideas which informed the law and institutions of the empire." Cicero's conception of natural law "found its way to later centuries notably through the writings of Saint Isidore of Seville and the Decretum of Gratian."
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
, in his summary of medieval natural law, quoted Cicero's statement that "nature" and "custom" were the sources of a society's laws. The Renaissance Italian historian
Leonardo Bruni Leonardo Bruni (or Leonardo Aretino; c. 1370 – March 9, 1444) was an Italians, Italian humanism, humanist, historian and statesman, often recognized as the most important humanist historian of the early Renaissance. He has been called the first ...
praised Cicero as the person "who carried philosophy from Greece to Italy, and nourished it with the golden river of his eloquence." The legal culture of Elizabethan England, exemplified by
Sir Edward Coke ''Sir'' is a formal honorific address in English language, English for men, derived from Sire in the High Middle Ages. Both are derived from the old French "Sieur" (Lord), brought to England by the French-speaking Normans, and which now exist i ...
, was "steeped in Ciceronian rhetoric." The Scottish moral philosopher Francis Hutcheson, as a student at Glasgow, "was attracted most by Cicero, for whom he always professed the greatest admiration." More generally in eighteenth-century Great Britain, Cicero's name was a household word among educated people. Likewise, "in the admiration of early Americans Cicero took pride of place as orator, political theorist, stylist, and moralist." The British polemicist Thomas Gordon "incorporated Cicero into the radical ideological tradition that travelled from the mother country to the colonies in the course of the eighteenth century and decisively shaped early American political culture." Cicero's description of the immutable, eternal, and universal natural law was quoted by Burlamaqui and later by the American revolutionary legal scholar James Wilson. Cicero became
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Befor ...
's "foremost model of public service, republican virtue, and forensic eloquence." Adams wrote of Cicero that "as all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united in the same character, his authority should have great weight."
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
"first encountered Cicero as a schoolboy while learning Latin, and continued to read his letters and discourses throughout his life. He admired him as a patriot, valued his opinions as a moral philosopher, and there is little doubt that he looked upon Cicero's life, with his love of study and aristocratic country life, as a model for his own." Jefferson described Cicero as "the father of eloquence and philosophy."


Christianity

Paul's
Epistle to the Romans The Epistle to the Romans is the sixth book in the New Testament, and the longest of the thirteen Pauline epistles. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by Paul the Apostle to explain that Salvation (Christianity), salvation is offered ...
is generally considered the Scriptural authority for the Christian idea of natural law as something that was
endowed A financial endowment is a legal structure for managing, and in many cases indefinitely perpetuating, a pool of financial Finance is the study and discipline of money, currency and capital assets. It is related to, but not synonymous with econ ...
in all men, contrasted with an idea of law as something revealed (for example, the law revealed to Moses by God).
"For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another."
The intellectual historian A. J. Carlyle has commented on this passage, "There can be little doubt that St Paul's words imply some conception analogous to the 'natural law' in
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, a law written in men's hearts, recognized by man's reason, a law distinct from the positive law of any State, or from what St Paul recognized as the revealed law of God. It is in this sense that St Paul's words are taken by the Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries like St Hilary of Poitiers,
St Ambrose Ambrose of Milan ( la, Aurelius Ambrosius; ), venerated as Saint Ambrose, ; lmo, Sant Ambroeus . was a theologian and statesman who served as Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan, Bishop of Milan from 374 to 397. He expressed himself prominentl ...
, and St Augustine, and there seems no reason to doubt the correctness of their interpretation." Because of its origins in the Old Testament, early
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers who established the intellectual and doctrinal foundations of Christianity. The historical pe ...
, especially those in the
West West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from east and is the direction in which the Sunset, Sun sets on the Earth. Etymology The word "west" is a Germanic languages, German ...
, saw natural law as part of the natural foundation of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
. The most notable among these was
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo ( , ; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berbers, Berber origin and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia (Roman pr ...
, who equated natural law with humanity's prelapsarian state; as such, a life according to unbroken human nature was no longer possible and persons needed instead to seek healing and salvation through the
divine law Divine law is any body of law that is perceived as deriving from a Transcendence (religion), transcendent source, such as the will of God or godsin contrast to man-made law or to secular law. According to Angelos Chaniotis and Rudolph F. Peters, di ...
and grace of
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
. Augustine was also among the earliest to examine the legitimacy of the laws of man, and attempt to define the boundaries of what laws and rights occur naturally based on wisdom and conscience, instead of being arbitrarily imposed by mortals, and if people are obligated to obey laws that are unjust. The natural law was inherently teleological as well as deontological. For Christians, natural law is how human beings manifest the divine image in their life. This mimicry of
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
's own life is impossible to accomplish except by means of the power of grace. Thus, whereas deontological systems merely require certain duties be performed, Christianity explicitly states that no one can, in fact, perform any duties if grace is lacking. For Christians, natural law flows not from divine commands, but from the fact that humanity is made in God's image, humanity is empowered by God's grace. Living the natural law is how humanity displays the gifts of life and grace, the gifts of all that is good. Consequences are in God's hands, consequences are generally not within human control, thus in natural law, actions are judged by three things: (1) the person's intent, (2) the circumstances of the act and (3) the nature of the act. The apparent good or evil consequence resulting from the moral act is not relevant to the act itself. The specific content of the natural law is therefore determined by how each person's acts mirror God's internal life of love. Insofar as one lives the natural law, temporal satisfaction may or may not be attained, but salvation will be attained. The
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, U ...
, in being bound by the natural law, is conceived as an institution whose purpose is to assist in bringing its subjects to true happiness. True happiness derives from living in harmony with the mind of God as an image of the living God. After the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
, some Protestant denominations maintained parts of the Catholic concept of natural law. The English
theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the ...
Richard Hooker Richard Hooker (25 March 1554 – 2 November 1600) was an English priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, dei ...
from the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
adapted Thomistic notions of natural law to
Anglicanism Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Euro ...
five principles: to live, to learn, to reproduce, to worship God, and to live in an ordered society.


Catholic natural law jurisprudence

Catholic counties in the tradition of the early Christian law and in the twelfth century,
Gratian Gratian (; la, Gratianus; 18 April 359 – 25 August 383) was Roman emperor, emperor of the Western Roman Empire from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube F ...
equated the natural law with divine law.
Albertus Magnus Albertus Magnus (c. 1200 – 15 November 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great or Albert of Cologne, was a German Dominican Order, Dominican friar, philosopher, scientist, and Bishop in the Catholic Church, bishop. Later Canonization ...
would address the subject a century later, and his pupil, St.
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
, in his ''
Summa Theologica The ''Summa Theologiae'' or ''Summa Theologica'' (), often referred to simply as the ''Summa'', is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), a scholasticism, scholastic theologian and Doctor of the Church. It is a compendium of all ...
'' I-II qq. 90–106, restored Natural Law to its independent state, asserting natural law as the rational creature's participation in the eternal law. Yet, since human reason could not fully comprehend the
Eternal law Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...
, it needed to be supplemented by revealed
Divine law Divine law is any body of law that is perceived as deriving from a Transcendence (religion), transcendent source, such as the will of God or godsin contrast to man-made law or to secular law. According to Angelos Chaniotis and Rudolph F. Peters, di ...
. (See also
Biblical law in Christianity Biblical law refers to the legal aspects of the Bible, the holy scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Judaism * Law of Moses * Mitzvah, divine commandment ** The Ten Commandments ** 613 commandments * Seven Laws of Noah, laws applicable to all of ...
.) Meanwhile, Aquinas taught that all human or positive laws were to be judged by their conformity to the natural law. An unjust law is not a law, in the full sense of the word. It retains merely the 'appearance' of law insofar as it is duly constituted and enforced in the same way a just law is, but is itself a 'perversion of law.' At this point, the natural law was not only used to pass judgment on the moral worth of various laws, but also to determine what those laws meant in the first place. This principle laid the seed for possible societal tension with reference to tyrants. The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
holds the view of natural law introduced by
Albertus Magnus Albertus Magnus (c. 1200 – 15 November 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great or Albert of Cologne, was a German Dominican Order, Dominican friar, philosopher, scientist, and Bishop in the Catholic Church, bishop. Later Canonization ...
and elaborated by
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
, particularly in his '' Summa Theologiae'', and often as filtered through the School of Salamanca. This view is also shared by some
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
s, and was delineated by
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
writer C. S. Lewis in his works '' Mere Christianity'' and '' The Abolition of Man''. The Catholic Church understands human beings to consist of body and mind, the physical and the non-physical (or
soul In many religious and philosophical traditions, there is a belief that a soul is "the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being". Etymology The Modern English noun '':wikt:soul, soul'' is derived from Old English ''sāwol, sāwel''. The ea ...
perhaps), and that the two are inextricably linked. Humans are capable of discerning the difference between
good and evil In religion, ethics, philosophy, and psychology "good and evil" is a very common dichotomy. In cultures with Manichaeism, Manichaean and Abrahamic religious influence, evil is perceived as the dualistic cosmology, dualistic antagonistic oppos ...
because they have a
conscience Conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual's ethics, moral philosophy or value system. Conscience stands in contrast to elicited emotion or thought due to associations based on immedi ...
. There are many manifestations of the good that we can pursue. Some, like
procreation Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is the biological process by which new individual organisms – "offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single orga ...
, are common to other animals, while others, like the pursuit of truth, are inclinations peculiar to the capacities of human beings. To know what is right, one must use one's reason and apply it to Thomas Aquinas' precepts. This reason is believed to be embodied, in its most abstract form, in the concept of a primary precept: "Good is to be sought, evil avoided." St. Thomas explains that:
there belongs to the natural law, first, certain most general precepts, that are known to all; and secondly, certain secondary and more detailed precepts, which are, as it were, conclusions following closely from first principles. As to those general principles, the natural law, in the abstract, can nowise be blotted out from men's hearts. But it is blotted out in the case of a particular action, insofar as reason is hindered from applying the general principle to a particular point of practice, on account of concupiscence or some other passion, as stated above (77, 2). But as to the other, i.e., the secondary precepts, the natural law can be blotted out from the human heart, either by evil persuasions, just as in speculative matters errors occur in respect of necessary conclusions; or by vicious customs and corrupt habits, as among some men, theft, and even unnatural vices, as the Apostle states (Rm. i), were not esteemed sinful.
However, while the primary and immediate precepts cannot be "blotted out," the secondary precepts can be. Therefore, for a deontological ethical theory they are open to a surprisingly large amount of interpretation and flexibility. Any rule that helps humanity to live up to the primary or subsidiary precepts can be a secondary precept, for example: * Drunkenness is wrong because it injures one's health, and worse, destroys one's ability to reason, which is fundamental to humans as rational animals (i.e., does not support self-preservation). * Theft is wrong because it destroys social relations, and humans are by nature social animals (i.e., does not support the subsidiary precept of living in society). Natural moral law is concerned with both exterior and interior acts, also known as action and motive. Simply doing the right thing is not enough; to be truly moral one's motive must be right as well. For example, helping an old lady across the road (good exterior act) to impress someone (bad interior act) is wrong. However, good intentions don't always lead to good actions. The motive must coincide with the cardinal or theological virtues.
Cardinal virtues The cardinal virtues are four virtues of mind and character in both classical philosophy and Christian theology. They are prudence, Justice (virtue), justice, Courage, fortitude, and Temperance (virtue), temperance. They form a Virtue ethics, vi ...
are acquired through reason applied to nature; they are: #
Prudence Prudence ( la, prudentia, Contraction (grammar), contracted from meaning "seeing ahead, sagacity") is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is classically considered to be a virtue, and in particular one of th ...
#
Justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
# Temperance # Fortitude The
theological virtues Theological virtues are virtues associated in Christian theology and Christian philosophy, philosophy with Salvation in Christianity, salvation resulting from the Grace (Christianity), grace of God in Christianity, God. Virtues are traits or qual ...
are: #
Faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religion, one can define faith as "belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion". Religious people often ...
#
Hope Hope is an Optimism, optimistic state of mind that is based on an wikt:expectation, expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with ...
# Charity According to Aquinas, to lack any of these virtues is to lack the ability to make a moral choice. For example, consider a person who possesses the virtues of justice, prudence, and fortitude, yet lacks temperance. Due to their lack of self-control and desire for pleasure, despite their good intentions, they will find themself swaying from the moral path. In the 16th century, the School of Salamanca ( Francisco Suárez,
Francisco de Vitoria Francisco de Vitoria ( – 12 August 1546; also known as Francisco de Victoria) was a Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized s ...
, etc.) further developed a philosophy of natural law, and major interpretations were provided by 20th century philosophers such as
Jacques Maritain Jacques Maritain (; 18 November 1882 – 28 April 1973) was a French Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide ...
. The
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doct ...
describes it in the following way: "The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie: 'The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin . . . But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted. The natural law consists, for the Catholic Church, of one supreme and universal principle from which are derived all our natural moral obligations or duties. Thomas Aquinas resumes the various ideas of Catholic moral thinkers about what this principle is: since good is what primarily falls under the apprehension of the practical reason, the supreme principle of moral action must have the good as its central idea, and therefore the supreme principle is that good is to be done and evil avoided.


Islamic natural law

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, a medieval scholar,
scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of the natural sciences. In classical antiquity, there was no real ancient analog of a modern scientist. Instead, ...
, and
polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific pro ...
, understood "natural law" as the survival of the fittest. He argued that the antagonism between
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex Human brain, brain. This has enabled the development of ad ...
beings can be overcome only through a
divine law Divine law is any body of law that is perceived as deriving from a Transcendence (religion), transcendent source, such as the will of God or godsin contrast to man-made law or to secular law. According to Angelos Chaniotis and Rudolph F. Peters, di ...
, which he believed to have been sent through
prophets In religion, a prophet or prophetess is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings f ...
. This is also said to be the general position of the Ashari school, the largest school of Sunni theology, (original in French.) as well as
Ibn Hazm Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad ibn Saʿīd ibn Ḥazm ( ar, أبو محمد علي بن احمد بن سعيد بن حزم; also sometimes known as al-Andalusī aẓ-Ẓāhirī; 7 November 994 – 15 August 1064Ibn Hazm. ' (Preface). Tr ...
. Conceptualized thus, all "laws" are viewed as originating from subjective attitudes actuated by cultural conceptions and individual preferences, and so the notion of "divine revelation" is justified as some kind of "divine intervention" that replaces human positive laws, which are criticized as being relative, with a single divine positive law. This, however, also entails that anything may be included in "the divine law" as it would in "human laws," but unlike the latter, "God's law" is seen as binding regardless of the nature of the commands by virtue of "God's might": since God is not subject to human laws and conventions, He may command what He wills just as He may do what He wills. The
Maturidi Māturīdī theology or Māturīdism ( ar, الماتريدية: ''al-Māturīdiyyah'') is one of the main Sunnī schools of Islamic theology, founded by the Persian Muslim scholar, Ḥanafī jurist, reformer (''Mujaddid''), and scholasti ...
school, the second-largest school of Sunni theology, as well as the Mu'tazilites, posits the existence of a form of natural, or "objective," law that humans can comprehend. Abu Mansur al-Maturidi stated that the human mind could know of the existence of God and the major forms of "good" and "evil" without the help of revelation. Al-Maturidi gives the example of stealing, which, he believes, is known to be evil by reason alone due to people's working hard for their property. Similarly, killing, fornication, and drunkenness are all "discernible evils" that the human mind could know of according to al-Maturidi. Likewise,
Averroes Ibn Rushd ( ar, ; Arabic name, full name in ; 14 April 112611 December 1198), often Latinization of names, Latinized as Averroes ( ), was an Al-Andalus, Andalusian polymath and Faqīh, jurist who wrote about many subjects, including philosoph ...
(Ibn Rushd), in his treatise on ''Justice and Jihad'' and his commentary on Plato's ''Republic'', writes that the human mind can know of the unlawfulness of killing and stealing and thus of the five maqasid or higher intents of the Islamic
sharia Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the Five Pillars of Islam, religious precepts of Islam and is based on the Islamic holy books, sacred scriptures o ...
, or the protection of religion, life, property, offspring, and reason. His Aristotelian commentaries also influenced the subsequent Averroist movement and the writings of
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
. Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya also posited that human reason could discern between "great sins" and "good deeds." Nonetheless, he, like Ibn Taymiyah, emphasized the authority of "divine revelation" and asserted that it must be followed even if it "seems" to contradict human reason, though he stressed that most, if not all, of "God's commands" are both sensible (that is, rationalizable) and advantageous to humans in both "this life" and "the hereafter." The concept of '' Istislah'' in
Islamic law Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the Five Pillars of Islam, religious precepts of Islam and is based on the Islamic holy books, sacred scriptures o ...
bears some similarities to the natural law tradition in the West, as exemplified by
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...

Thomas Aquinas
. However, whereas natural law deems good what is self-evidently good, according as it tends towards the fulfillment of the person, ''istislah'' typically calls good whatever is related to one of five "basic goods." Many jurists, theologians, and philosophers attempted to abstract these "basic and fundamental goods" from legal precepts.
Al-Ghazali Al-Ghazali ( – 19 December 1111; ), full name (), and known in Persian language, Persian-speaking countries as Imam Muhammad-i Ghazali (Persian: امام محمد غزالی) or in Medieval Europe by the Latinized as Algazelus or Algazel, was ...
, for instance, defined them as religion, life, reason, lineage, and property, while others add "honor" also.


Brehon law

Early Irish law, An Senchus Mor (The Great Tradition) mentions in a number of places ''recht aicned'' or natural law. This is a concept predating European legal theory, and reflects a type of law that is universal and may be determined by reason and observation of natural action. Neil McLeod identifies concepts that law must accord with: fír (truth) and dliged (right or entitlement). These two terms occur frequently, though Irish law never strictly defines them. Similarly, the term córus (law in accordance with proper order) occurs in some places, and even in the titles of certain texts. These were two very real concepts to the jurists and the value of a given judgment with respect to them was apparently ascertainable. McLeod has also suggested that most of the specific laws mentioned have passed the test of time and thus their truth has been confirmed, while other provisions are justified in other ways because they are younger and have not been tested over time The laws were written in the oldest dialect of the Irish language, called Bérla Féini airla-faina which even at the time was so difficult that persons about to become brehons had to be specially instructed in it, the length of time from beginning to becoming a learned Brehon was usually 20 years. Although under the law any third person could fulfill the duty if both parties agreed, and both were sane. It has been included in an Ethno-Celtic breakaway subculture, as it has religious undertones and freedom of religious expression allows it to once again be used as a valid system in Western Europe.


English jurisprudence

Heinrich A. Rommen remarked upon "the tenacity with which the spirit of the English common law retained the conceptions of natural law and equity which it had assimilated during the Catholic Middle Ages, thanks especially to the influence of
Henry de Bracton Henry of Bracton, also Henry de Bracton, also Henricus Bracton, or Henry Bratton also Henry Bretton (c. 1210 – c. 1268) was an English cleric and jurist. He is famous now for his writings on law, particularly ''De legibus et consuetudinib ...
(d. 1268) and Sir John Fortescue (d. cir. 1476)." Bracton's translator notes that Bracton "was a trained jurist with the principles and distinctions of Roman jurisprudence firmly in mind"; but Bracton adapted such principles to English purposes rather than copying slavishly. In particular, Bracton turned the imperial Roman maxim that "the will of the prince is law" on its head, insisting that the king is ''under'' the law. The legal historian Charles F. Mullett has noted Bracton's "ethical definition of law, his recognition of justice, and finally his devotion to natural rights." Bracton considered justice to be the "fountain-head" from which "all rights arise." For his definition of justice, Bracton quoted the twelfth-century Italian jurist Azo: "'Justice is the constant and unfailing will to give to each his right.'" Bracton's work was the second legal treatise studied by the American historical figure
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
as a young apprentice lawyer. Fortescue stressed "the supreme importance of the law of God and of nature" in works that "profoundly influenced the course of legal development in the following centuries." The legal scholar Ellis Sandoz has noted that "the historically ancient and the ontologically higher law—eternal, divine, natural—are woven together to compose a single harmonious texture in Fortescue's account of English law." As the legal historian Norman Doe explains: "Fortescue follows the general pattern set by Aquinas. The objective of every legislator is to dispose people to virtue. It is by means of law that this is accomplished. Fortescue's definition of law (also found in Accursius and Bracton), after all, was 'a sacred sanction commanding what is virtuous 'honesta''and forbidding the contrary.'" Fortescue cited the great Italian
Leonardo Bruni Leonardo Bruni (or Leonardo Aretino; c. 1370 – March 9, 1444) was an Italians, Italian humanism, humanist, historian and statesman, often recognized as the most important humanist historian of the early Renaissance. He has been called the first ...
for his statement that "virtue alone produces happiness." Christopher St. Germain's '' The Doctor and Student'' was a classic of English jurisprudence,. Norman Doe notes that St. Germain's view "is essentially Thomist," quoting Thomas Aquinas's definition of law as "an ordinance of reason made for the common good by him who has charge of the community, and promulgated."
Sir Edward Coke ''Sir'' is a formal honorific address in English language, English for men, derived from Sire in the High Middle Ages. Both are derived from the old French "Sieur" (Lord), brought to England by the French-speaking Normans, and which now exist i ...
was the preeminent jurist of his time. Coke's preeminence extended across the ocean: "For the American revolutionary leaders, 'law' meant Sir Edward Coke's custom and right reason." Coke defined law as "perfect reason, which commands those things that are proper and necessary and which prohibits contrary things." For Coke, human nature determined the purpose of law; and law was superior to any one person's reason or will. Coke's discussion of natural law appears in his report of '' Calvin's Case'' (1608): "The law of nature is that which God at the time of creation of the nature of man infused into his heart, for his preservation and direction." In this case the judges found that "the ligeance or faith of the subject is due unto the King by the law of nature: secondly, that the law of nature is part of the law of England: thirdly, that the law of nature was before any judicial or municipal law: fourthly, that the law of nature is immutable." To support these findings, the assembled judges (as reported by Coke, who was one of them) cited as authorities
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
,
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, and the
Apostle Paul Paul; grc, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; hbo, פאולוס השליח (previously called Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; grc, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus; ...
; as well as Bracton, Fortescue, and St. Germain. After Coke, the most famous common law jurist of the seventeenth century is Sir Matthew Hale. Hale wrote a treatise on natural law that circulated among English lawyers in the eighteenth century and survives in three manuscript copies. This natural-law treatise has been published as ''Of the Law of Nature'' (2015). Hale's definition of the natural law reads: "It is the Law of Almighty God given by him to Man with his Nature discovering the morall good and moral evill of Moral Actions, commanding the former, and forbidding the latter by the secret voice or dictate of his implanted nature, his reason, and his concience." He viewed natural law as antecedent, preparatory, and subsequent to civil government, and stated that human law "cannot forbid what the Law of Nature injoins, nor Command what the Law of Nature prohibits." He cited as authorities
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...

Plato
,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
,
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, Seneca,
Epictetus Epictetus (; grc-gre, Ἐπίκτητος, ''Epíktētos''; 50 135 AD) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born into slavery at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present-day Pamukkale, in western Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially ...
, and the
Apostle Paul Paul; grc, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; hbo, פאולוס השליח (previously called Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; grc, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus; ...
. He was critical of Hobbes's reduction of natural law to self-preservation and Hobbes's account of the state of nature, but drew positively on
Hugo Grotius Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft ...
's '' De jure belli ac pacis'', Francisco Suárez's ''Tractatus de legibus ac deo legislatore'', and
John Selden John Selden (16 December 1584 – 30 November 1654) was an English jurist, a scholar of England's ancient laws and constitution and scholar of Jewish law. He was known as a polymath; John Milton hailed Selden in 1644 as "the chief of learned ...
's ''De jure naturali et gentium juxta disciplinam Ebraeorum''. As early as the thirteenth century, it was held that "the law of nature...is the ground of all laws" and by the Chancellor and Judges that "it is required by the law of nature that every person, before he can be punish'd, ought to be present; and if absent by contumacy, he ought to be summoned and make default." Further, in 1824, we find it held that "proceedings in our Courts are founded upon the law of England, and that law is again founded upon the law of nature and the revealed law of God. If the right sought to be enforced is inconsistent with either of these, the English municipal courts cannot recognize it."


Hobbes

By the 17th century, the
medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
teleological Teleology (from and )Partridge, Eric. 1977''Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English'' London: Routledge, p. 4187. or finalityDubray, Charles. 2020 912Teleology" In ''The Catholic Encyclopedia'' 14. New York: Robert Applet ...
view came under intense criticism from some quarters.
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; 5/15 April 1588 – 4/14 December 1679) was an English people, English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ''Leviathan (Hobbes book), Levi ...
instead founded a contractarian theory of
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
on what all men could agree upon: what they sought (happiness) was subject to contention, but a broad consensus could form around what they feared (violent death at the hands of another). The natural law was how a rational human being, seeking to survive and prosper, would act. Natural law, therefore, was discovered by considering humankind's
natural rights Some philosophers distinguish two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental right ...
, whereas previously it could be said that natural rights were discovered by considering the natural law. In Hobbes' opinion, the only way natural law could prevail was for men to submit to the commands of the sovereign. Because the ultimate source of law now comes from the sovereign, and the sovereign's decisions need not be grounded in morality, legal positivism is born.
Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 ld Style and New Style dates, O.S. 4 February 1747– 6 June 1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism. Bentham defined as the "fundam ...
's modifications on
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
further developed the theory. As used by
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; 5/15 April 1588 – 4/14 December 1679) was an English people, English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ''Leviathan (Hobbes book), Levi ...
in his treatises '' Leviathan'' and '' De Cive'', natural law is "a
precept A precept (from the la, præcipere, to teach) is a commandment, instruction, or order intended as an authoritative rule of action. Religious law In religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors ...
, or general rule, found out by
reason Reason is the capacity of Consciousness, consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclusions from new or existing information, with the aim of seeking the truth. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activ ...
, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life, or takes away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that by which he thinks it may best be preserved." According to Hobbes, there are nineteen Laws. The first two are expounded in chapter XIV of ''Leviathan'' ("of the first and second natural laws; and of contracts"); the others in chapter XV ("of other laws of nature"). * The first law of nature is ''that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war''. * The second law of nature is ''that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth, as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.'' * The third law is ''that men perform their covenants made.'' In this law of nature consisteth the fountain and original of justice... when a covenant is made, then to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is just. * The fourth law is ''that a man which receiveth benefit from another of mere grace, endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will.'' Breach of this law is called ingratitude. * The fifth law is complaisance: ''that every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest.'' The observers of this law may be called sociable; the contrary, stubborn, insociable, forward, intractable. * The sixth law is ''that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the offences past of them that repenting, desire it.'' * The seventh law is ''that in revenges, men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow.'' * The eighth law is ''that no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare hatred or contempt of another.'' The breach of which law is commonly called contumely. * The ninth law is ''that every man acknowledge another for his equal by nature.'' The breach of this precept is pride. * The tenth law is ''that at the entrance into the conditions of peace, no man require to reserve to himself any right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest.'' The breach of this precept is arrogance, and observers of the precept are called modest. * The eleventh law is that ''if a man be trusted to judge between man and man, that he deal equally between them.'' * The twelfth law is ''that such things as cannot be divided, be enjoyed in common, if it can be; and if the quantity of the thing permit, without stint; otherwise proportionably to the number of them that have right.'' * The thirteenth law is ''the entire right, or else...the first possession'' (in the case of alternating use), of a thing that ''can neither be divided nor enjoyed in common'' should be determined by lottery. * The fourteenth law is that ''those things which cannot be enjoyed in common, nor divided, ought to be adjudged to the first possessor; and in some cases to the first born, as acquired by lot.'' * The fifteenth law is that ''all men that mediate peace be allowed safe conduct.'' * The sixteenth law is ''that they that are at controversie, submit their Right to the judgement of an Arbitrator.'' * The seventeenth law is ''that no man is a fit Arbitrator in his own cause.'' * The eighteenth law is that no man should serve as a judge in a case if ''greater profit, or honour, or pleasure apparently ariseth or himout of the victory of one party, than of the other.'' * The nineteenth law is that in a disagreement of fact, the judge should not give more weight to the testimony of one party than another, and absent other evidence, should give credit to the testimony of other witnesses. Hobbes's philosophy includes a frontal assault on the founding principles of the earlier natural legal tradition, disregarding the traditional association of virtue with happiness, and likewise re-defining "law" to remove any notion of the promotion of the common good. Hobbes has no use for
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
's association of nature with human perfection, inverting Aristotle's use of the word "nature." Hobbes posits a primitive, unconnected state of nature in which men, having a "natural proclivity...to hurt each other" also have "a Right to every thing, even to one anothers body"; and "nothing can be Unjust" in this "warre of every man against every man" in which human life is "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short." Rejecting
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
's view that people join in society primarily through "a certain social spirit which nature has implanted in man," Hobbes declares that men join in society simply for the purpose of "getting themselves out from that miserable condition of Warre, which is necessarily consequent...to the naturall Passions of men, when there is no visible Power to keep them in awe." As part of his campaign against the classical idea of natural human sociability, Hobbes inverts that fundamental natural legal maxim, the Golden Rule. Hobbes's version is ''"Do not that to another, which thou wouldst not have done to thy selfe."''


Cumberland's rebuttal of Hobbes

The English cleric Richard Cumberland wrote a lengthy and influential attack on Hobbes's depiction of individual self-interest as the essential feature of human motivation. Historian Knud Haakonssen has noted that in the eighteenth century, Cumberland was commonly placed alongside
Alberico Gentili Alberico Gentili (14 January 155219 June 1608) was an Italian-English jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholar, mostly (but not alw ...
,
Hugo Grotius Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft ...
and
Samuel Pufendorf Samuel Freiherr von Pufendorf (8 January 1632 – 26 October 1694) was a German people, German jurist, political philosopher, economist and historian. He was born Samuel Pufendorf and Nobility, ennobled in 1694; he was made a baron by Charles XI ...
"in the triumvirate of seventeenth-century founders of the 'modern' school of natural law." The eighteenth-century philosophers Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury and Francis Hutcheson (philosopher), Hutcheson "were obviously inspired in part by Cumberland." Historian Jon Parkin likewise describes Cumberland's work as "one of the most important works of ethical and political theory of the seventeenth century." Parkin observes that much of Cumberland's material "is derived from Roman Stoicism, particularly from the work of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, as "Cumberland deliberately cast his engagement with Hobbes in the mould of Cicero's debate between the Stoics, who believed that nature could provide an objective morality, and Epicureanism, Epicureans, who argued that morality was human, conventional and self-interested." In doing so, Cumberland de-emphasized the overlay of Christian dogma (in particular, the doctrine of "original sin" and the corresponding presumption that humans are incapable of "perfecting" themselves without divine intervention) that had accreted to natural law in the Middle Ages. By way of contrast to Hobbes's multiplicity of laws, Cumberland states in the very first sentence of his ''Treatise of the Laws of Nature'' that "all the Laws of Nature are reduc'd to that one, of Benevolence toward all Rationals." He later clarifies: "By the name ''Rationals'' I beg leave to understand, as well ''God'' as ''Man''; and I do it upon the Authority of Cicero." Cumberland argues that the mature development ("perfection") of human nature involves the individual human willing and acting for the common good. For Cumberland, human interdependence precludes Hobbes's natural right of each individual to wage war against all the rest for personal survival. However, Haakonssen warns against reading Cumberland as a proponent of "enlightened self-interest." Rather, the "proper moral love of humanity" is "a disinterested love of God through love of humanity in ourselves as well as others." Cumberland concludes that actions "principally conducive to our Happiness" are those that promote "the Honour and Glory of God" and also "Charity and Justice towards men." Cumberland emphasizes that desiring the well-being of our fellow humans is essential to the "pursuit of our own Happiness." He cites "reason" as the authority for his conclusion that happiness consists in "the most extensive Benevolence," but he also mentions as "Essential Ingredients of Happiness" the "Benevolent Affections," meaning "Love and Benevolence towards others," as well as "that Joy, which arises from their Happiness."


American jurisprudence

The U.S. Declaration of Independence states that it has become necessary for the people of the United States to assume "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them." Some early American lawyers and judges perceived natural law as too tenuous, amorphous, and evanescent a legal basis for grounding concrete rights and Limited government, governmental limitations. Natural law did, however, serve as authority for legal claims and rights in some judicial decisions, legislative acts, and legal pronouncements. Robert Lowry Clinton argues that the U.S. Constitution rests on a common law foundation and the common law, in turn, rests on a classical natural law foundation.


European liberal natural law

Liberal natural law grew out of the Middle Ages, medieval Christian natural law theories and out of Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes' revision of natural law, sometimes in an uneasy balance of the two. Alberico Gentili, Sir Alberico Gentili and
Hugo Grotius Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft ...
based their philosophies of international law on natural law. In particular, Grotius's writings on freedom of the seas and just war theory directly appealed to natural law. About natural law itself, he wrote that "even the will of an omnipotent being cannot change or abrogate" natural law, which "would maintain its objective validity even if we should assume the impossible, that there is no
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...

God
or that he does not care for human affairs." (''De iure belli ac pacis'', Prolegomeni XI). This is the famous argument ''etiamsi daremus'' (''non esse Deum''), that made natural law no longer dependent on theology. However, German church-historians Ernst Wolf and M. Elze disagreed and claimed that Grotius' concept of natural law did have a theological basis. In Grotius' view, the Old Testament contained moral precepts (e.g. the Decalogue) which Christ confirmed and therefore were still valid. Moreover, they were useful in explaining the content of natural law. Both biblical revelation and natural law originated in God and could therefore not contradict each other. In a similar way,
Samuel Pufendorf Samuel Freiherr von Pufendorf (8 January 1632 – 26 October 1694) was a German people, German jurist, political philosopher, economist and historian. He was born Samuel Pufendorf and Nobility, ennobled in 1694; he was made a baron by Charles XI ...
gave natural law a theological foundation and applied it to his concepts of government and international law. John Locke incorporated natural law into many of his theories and philosophy, especially in ''Two Treatises of Government''. There is considerable debate about whether his conception of natural law was more akin to that of Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas (filtered through
Richard Hooker Richard Hooker (25 March 1554 – 2 November 1600) was an English priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, dei ...
) or Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes' radical reinterpretation, though the effect of Locke's understanding is usually phrased in terms of a revision of Hobbes upon Hobbesian social contract, contractarian grounds. Locke turned Hobbes' prescription around, saying that if the ruler went against natural law and failed to protect "life, liberty, and property," people could justifiably overthrow the existing state and create a new one. While Locke spoke in the language of natural law, the content of this law was by and large protective of
natural rights Some philosophers distinguish two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental right ...
, and it was this language that later liberal thinkers preferred. Political philosopher Jeremy Waldron has pointed out that Locke's political thought was based on "a particular set of Protestant Christian assumptions." To Locke, the content of natural law was identical with biblical ethics as laid down especially in the Decalogue, Christ's teaching and exemplary life, and St. Paul's admonitions. Locke derived the concept of basic human equality, including the equality of the sexes ("Adam and Eve"), fro
Genesis 1, 26–28
the starting-point of the theological doctrine of Imago Dei. One of the consequences is that as all humans are created equally free, governments need the consent of the governed.
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
, arguably echoing Locke, appealed to inalienable rights, unalienable rights in the ''
Declaration of Independence A declaration of independence or declaration of statehood or proclamation of independence is an assertion by a polity in a defined territory that it is independence, independent and constitutes a Sovereign state, state. Such places are usually d ...

Declaration of Independence
'', "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are ''created'' equal, that they are endowed by their ''Creator'' with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The Lockean idea that governments need the consent of the governed was also fundamental to the Declaration of Independence, as the American Revolutionaries used it as justification for their separation from the British crown. The Belgian philosopher of law Frank van Dun is one among those who are elaborating a secular conception of natural law in the liberal tradition. Anarcho-capitalism, Anarcho-capitalist theorist Murray Rothbard argues that "the very existence of a natural law discoverable by reason is a potentially powerful threat to the status quo and a standing reproach to the reign of blindly traditional custom or the arbitrary will of the State apparatus." Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises states that he relaid the general sociological and economic foundations of the liberal doctrine upon utilitarianism, rather than natural law, but R. A. Gonce argues that "the reality of the argument constituting his system overwhelms his denial." Murray Rothbard, however, says that Gonce makes a lot of errors and distortions in the analysis of Mises's works, including making confusions about the term which Mises uses to refer to scientific laws, "laws of nature," saying it characterizes Mises as a natural law philosopher. David Gordon (philosopher), David Gordon notes, "When most people speak of natural law, what they have in mind is the contention that morality can be derived from human nature. If human beings are rational animals of such-and-such a sort, then the moral virtues are...(filling in the blanks is the difficult part)." Nobel Prize in Economics, Nobel Prize winning Austrian economist and social theorist Friedrich Hayek, F. A. Hayek said that, originally, "the term 'natural' was used to describe an orderliness or regularity that was not the product of deliberate human will. Together with 'organism' it was one of the two terms generally understood to refer to the spontaneously grown in contrast to the invented or designed. Its use in this sense had been inherited from the stoic philosophy, had been revived in the twelfth century, and it was finally under its flag that the late Spanish Schoolmen developed the foundations of the genesis and functioning of spontaneously formed social institutions." The idea that 'natural' was "the product of designing reason" is a product of a seventeenth century Rationalism, rationalist reinterpretation of the law of nature. Luis de Molina, Luis Molina, for example, when referred to the 'natural' price, explained that it is "so called because 'it results from the thing itself without regard to laws and decrees, but is dependent on many circumstances which alter it, such as the sentiments of men, their estimation of different uses, often even in consequence of whims and pleasures." And even John Locke, when talking about the foundations of natural law and explaining what he thought when citing "reason," said: "By reason, however, I do not think is meant here that faculty of the understanding which forms traint of thought and deduces proofs, but certain definite principles of action from which spring all virtues and whatever is necessary for the proper moulding of morals." This anti-rationalist approach to human affairs, for Hayek, was the same which guided Scottish Enlightenment, Scottish enlightenment thinkers, such as Adam Smith, David Hume and Adam Ferguson, to make their case for liberty. For them, no one can have the knowledge necessary to plan society, and this "natural" or "spontaneous" order of society shows how it can efficiently "plan" bottom-up. Also, the idea that law is just a product of deliberate design, denied by natural law and linked to
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
, can easily generate totalitarianism: "If law is wholly the product of deliberate design, whatever the designer decrees to be law is just by definition and unjust law becomes a contradiction in terms. The will of the duly authorized legislator is then wholly unfettered and guided solely by his concrete interests." This idea is wrong because law cannot be just a product of "reason": "no system of articulated law can be applied except within a framework of generally recognized but often unarticulated rules of justice." However, a secular critique of the natural law doctrine was stated by Pierre Charron in his ''De la sagesse'' (1601): "The sign of a natural law must be the universal respect in which it is held, for if there was anything that nature had truly commanded us to do, we would undoubtedly obey it universally: not only would every nation respect it, but every individual. Instead there is nothing in the world that is not subject to contradiction and dispute, nothing that is not rejected, not just by one nation, but by many; equally, there is nothing that is strange and (in the opinion of many) unnatural that is not approved in many countries, and authorized by their customs."


Contemporary jurisprudence

One modern articulation of the concept of natural laws was given by Belina and Dzudzek:
"By constant repetition, those practices develop into structures in the form of discourses which can become so natural that we abstract from their societal origins, that the latter are forgotten and seem to be natural laws."
In jurisprudence, ''natural law'' can refer to the several doctrines: * That justice, just laws are Immanence, immanent in nature; that is, they can be "discovered" or "found" but not "created" by such things as a bill of rights; * That they can emerge by the natural process of resolving conflicts, as embodied by the evolutionary process of the common law; or * That the meaning of law is such that its content cannot be determined except by reference to moral principles. These meanings can either oppose or complement each other, although they share the common trait that they rely on inherence as opposed to design in finding just laws. Whereas
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
would say that a law can be unjust without it being any less a law, a natural law jurisprudence would say that there is something legally deficient about an unjust norm. Besides utilitarianism and Kantianism, natural law jurisprudence has in common with virtue ethics that it is a live option for a first principles ethics theory in analytic philosophy. The concept of natural law was very important in the development of the English common law. In the struggles between Parliament of the United Kingdom, Parliament and the British monarchy, monarch, Parliament often made reference to the Fundamental Laws of England, which were at times said to embody natural law principles since time immemorial and set limits on the power of the monarchy. According to William Blackstone, however, natural law might be useful in determining the content of the common law and in deciding cases of Equity (law), equity, but was not itself identical with the laws of England. Nonetheless, the implication of natural law in the common law tradition has meant that the great opponents of natural law and advocates of
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
, like
Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 ld Style and New Style dates, O.S. 4 February 1747– 6 June 1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism. Bentham defined as the "fundam ...
, have also been staunch critics of the common law. Natural law jurisprudence is currently undergoing a period of reformulation (as is legal positivism). The most prominent contemporary natural law jurist, Australian John Finnis, is based in Oxford, but there are also Americans Germain Grisez, Robert P. George, and Canadian Joseph Boyle (jurist), Joseph Boyle and Brazilian Emídio Brasileiro. All have tried to construct a new version of natural law. The 19th-century anarchism, anarchist and legal theorist Lysander Spooner was also a figure in the expression of modern natural law. "New Natural Law" as it is sometimes called, originated with Grisez. It focuses on "basic human goods," such as human life, knowledge, and aesthetic experience, which are Self-evidence, self-evidently and intrinsically worthwhile, and states that these goods reveal themselves as being commensurability (ethics), incommensurable with one another. The tensions between natural law and positive law have played, and continue to play, a key role in the development of international law. U.S. Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch are proponents of natural law.


See also


Notes


References

* John Adams, Adams, John. 1797. ''A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America''. 3rd edition. Philadelphia; repr. Darmstadt, Germany: Scientia Verlag Aalen, 1979. *
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
. ''
Nicomachean Ethics The ''Nicomachean Ethics'' (; ; grc, Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, ) is Aristotle's best-known work on ethics, the science of the good for human life, which is Teleology, the goal or end at which all our actions aim. (I§2) The aim of the i ...
''. *
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
. ''Rhetoric''. *
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
. ''Politics''. * Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas. ''
Summa Theologica The ''Summa Theologiae'' or ''Summa Theologica'' (), often referred to simply as the ''Summa'', is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), a scholasticism, scholastic theologian and Doctor of the Church. It is a compendium of all ...
''. * Barham, Francis.Introduction to The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero. * William Blackstone, Blackstone, William. 1765–1769. ''Commentaries on the Laws of England''. * Botein, Stephen. 1978. "Cicero as Role Model for Early American Lawyers: A Case Study in Classical 'Influence'". ''The Classical Journal'' 73, no. 4 (April–May). * Boyer, Allen D. 2004. "Sir Edward Coke, Ciceronianus: Classical Rhetoric and the Common Law Tradition." in ''Law, Liberty, and Parliament: Selected Essays on the Writings of Sir Edward Coke'', ed. Allen D. Boyer. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. * Burlamaqui, Jean Jacques. 1763. ''The Principles of Natural and Politic Law''. Trans. Thomas Nugent. Repr., Indianapolis: The Liberty Fund, 2006. * Burns, Tony. 2000. "Aquinas's Two Doctrines of Natural Law." ''Political Studies (journal), Political Studies'' 48. pp. 929–946. * Carlyle, A. J. 1903. '' A History of Medieval Political Theory in the West''. vol. 1. Edinburgh. *
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
. ''De Legibus''. * Charles Norris Cochrane, Cochrane, Charles Norris. 1957. ''Christianity and Classical Culture: A Study of Thought and Action from Augustus to Augustine''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Corbett, R. J. 2009. "The Question of Natural Law in
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
." ''History of Political Thought'' 30, no. 2 (Summer): 229–250 * Corwin, Edward S. 1955. ''The "Higher Law" Background of American Constitutional Law''. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. * Edlin, Douglas E. 2006. "Judicial Review Without a Constitution." ''Polity'' 38, no. 3 (July): 345–368. * Farrell, James M. 1989. "John Adams's Autobiography: The Ciceronian Paradigm and the Quest for Fame." ''The New England Quarterly'' 62, no. 4 (Dec. ). * Bernard Gert, Gert, Bernard, [1998] 2005. ''Morality: Its Nature and Justification''
Description & outline
Revised Edition, Oxford University Press. * Haakonssen, Knud. 1996. ''Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment.'' Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. * Haakonssen, Knud. 2000. "The Character and Obligation of Natural Law according to Richard Cumberland." In ''English Philosophy in the Age of John Locke, Locke'', ed. M.A. Stewart. Oxford. * Eric Heinze, Heinze, Eric, 2013. ''The Concept of Injustice'' (Routledge) * Harry Jaffa, Jaffa, Harry V. 1952. ''Thomism and Aristotelianism''. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. * ''Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson's Literary Commonplace Book''. Trans. and ed. Douglas L. Wilson. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989. * Maritain, Jacques. 2001. ''Natural Law: Reflections on theory and practice,'' tr. and ed. William Sweet, South Bend, IN: St Augustine's Press. * McIlwain, Charles Howard. 1932. ''The Growth of Political Thought in the West: From the Greeks to the End of the Middle Ages''. New York City, New York: The Macmillan Company. * * "Natural Law." ''International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences''. New York City, New York, 1968. * Reinhold, Meyer. 1984. ''Classica Americana: The Greek and Roman Heritage in the United States''. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. * Rommen, Heinrich A. 1947. ''The Natural Law: A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy''. Trans. and rev. Thomas R. Hanley. B. Herder Book Co.; repr. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998. * Scott, William Robert. 1900. '' Francis Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching, and Position in the History of Philosophy'' Cambridge; repr. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1966. * Shellens, Max Salomon. 1959. "
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
on Natural Law." ''Natural Law Forum'' 4, no. 1. pp. 72–100. * Quentin Skinner, Skinner, Quentin. 1978. ''The Foundations of Modern Political Thought''. Cambridge. * Jeremy Waldron, Waldron, Jeremy. 2002. ''God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke's Political Thought''. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK). . * John Wijngaards, Wijngaards, John, ''AMRUTHA. What the Pope's man found out about the Law of Nature'', Author House 2011. * Wilson, James. 1967. The Works of James Wilson. Ed. Robert Green McCloskey. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. * Woo, B. Hoon. 2012.
Pannenberg's Understanding of the Natural Law.
''Studies in Christian Ethics'' 25, no. 3: 288–290. * Reinhold Zippelius, Zippelius, Reinhold. ''Rechtsphilosophie, 6th edition, § 12''. C.H. Beck, Munich, 2011. .


External links

* Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: *
The Natural Law Tradition in Ethics
by Mark Murphy, 2002. *
Aquinas' Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy
by John Finnis, 2005. *
Natural Law Theories
by John Finnis, 2007.

by Kenneth Einar Himma
Aquinas on natural law


A clear introduction to Natural Law * Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.
"An Overview of Natural Law"


* Wendy McElroy, McElroy, Wendy]
"The Non-Absurdity of Natural Law
" ''The Freeman'', February 1998, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 108–111 * John Wijngaards
"The controversy of Natural Law
"
Lex Naturalis, Ius Naturalis: Law as Positive Reasoning and Natural Rationality
by Eric Engle, (Elias Clarke, 2010). {{DEFAULTSORT:Natural Law Natural law, Thomistic jurisprudence Ethical theories Law