Why Natural Law Is Universal

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Natural law first appeared among the Stoics, who believed that God is everywhere and in everyone (see classical pantheism). According to this belief, there is a “divine spark” in man that helps him to live in harmony with nature. The Stoics felt that there was a way in which the universe had been designed, and that natural law helped us to enter into harmony with it. Although this task is generally interpreted as an attempt to analyze concepts of law and the legal system, there is some confusion as to the value and character of conceptual analysis in legal philosophy. As Brian Leiter (1998) points out, philosophy of law is one of the few philosophical disciplines that considers conceptual analysis to be its primary concern; Most other areas of philosophy have taken a naturalistic turn, incorporating the tools and methods of science. To illustrate the role of conceptual analysis in law, Brian Bix (1995) identifies a number of different purposes that conceptual claims can serve: (1) to pursue the use of language; (2) establish service documents; (3) explain what is important or essential about a class of objects; and (4) establish an evaluation test for the word term. Bix assumes that conceptual analysis in law focuses on (3) and (4). Second, Fuller identifies the conceptual connection between law and morality at a higher level of abstraction than classical naturalists. Classical naturalists regard morality as essential limitations on the content of individual laws; From this point of view, an unfair norm is conceptually excluded from legal validity. In contrast, Fuller sees morality as a constraint on the existence of a legal system: “A total failure in one of these eight directions does not simply lead to a bad legal system; it leads to what is not called a legal system at all” (Fuller 1964, 39). The New Testament contains another account of the Abrahamic dialogue and builds on the later Greek exposition on this subject, when Paul`s letter to the Romans states: “For if the Gentiles who do not have the law do by nature what is contained in the law, they who do not have the law, a law in itself: Those who have written the work of the law in their hearts, who also bear witness to their conscience, and who, in the meantime, accuse or apologize to each other. [42] The intellectual historian A.

J. Carlyle commented on this passage: “There is little doubt that St. Paul`s words imply a conception analogous to Cicero`s `natural law,` a law written in the hearts of men and recognized by the reason of man, a law distinct from the positive law of any state or of it, which St. Paul recognized as the revealed law of God. In this sense, the words of St. Paul are taken up by the fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, such as St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Ambrose and St.

Augustine, and there seems to be no reason to doubt the correctness of their interpretation. [43] Another frequently expressed concern is that conceptual naturalism undermines the possibility of moral criticism of the law; Since conformity with natural law is a necessary condition for legal validity, any applicable law is, by definition, morally just. According to this reasoning, the legal validity of a norm necessarily implies its moral justice. As Jules Coleman and Jeffrey Murphy (1990, 18) have said: Greek philosophy emphasized the distinction between “nature” (physis, φúσις) on the one hand and “law”, “habit” or “convention” (nomos, νóμος) on the other. [ref. needed] It is expected that what the law commands will vary from place to place, but what was “by nature” should be the same everywhere. A “law of nature” would therefore smack of paradox rather than something that obviously exists. [7] Against the conventionalism that could produce the distinction between nature and habit, Socrates and his philosophical heirs, Plato and Aristotle, postulated the existence of natural justice or natural law (dikaion physikon, δίκαιον φυσικόν, Latin ius naturale).

Among these, Aristotle is often referred to as the father of natural law. [6] If Thomas Aquinas` point of view is paradigmatic for the position of natural law and these two theses – that, from God`s point of view, it is the law by its place in the scheme of divine providence and represents to the human eye a series of naturally binding and recognizable commandments of practical reason – the fundamental characteristics of natural law, as Thomas Aquinas understands. It follows that the paradigmatic theory of natural law is incompatible with several views of metaphysics and moral philosophy. On the side of metaphysics, it is clear that the vision of natural law is incompatible with atheism: one cannot have a theory of divine providence without a divine being. It is also clear that the paradigmatic view of natural law excludes a deism on which there is a divine being, but that the divine being has no interest in human affairs. Nor can one be agnostic while confirming the paradigmatic view of natural law: for agnosticism is the refusal to engage in the existence or non-existence of God, while the paradigmatic view of natural law implies a commitment to the existence of God. On the side of moral philosophy, it is clear that the vision of natural law is incompatible with a nihilism of value, that is, the rejection of the existence of values. It is also incompatible with relativistic and conventional views, where the status of value is entirely relative to one`s own community or is entirely determined by conventions. It is also incompatible with a general skepticism about value, because the view of natural law compels us to assert that certain claims to the good are in fact recognizable to all, even recognizable to all.

While Locke spoke in the language of natural law, the content of that law largely protected natural rights, and it was this language that later liberal thinkers favored. Political philosopher Jeremy Waldron pointed out that Locke`s political thought was based on “a certain set of Protestant Christian assumptions.” [121] For Locke, the content of natural law was identical to biblical ethics as enunciated particularly in the Decalogue, the teaching of Christ, and exemplary life. One could argue, for example, that the conceptual point of law is partly to reproduce the requirements of morality, but also a form of ethical subjectivism (or relativism). According to this particular view, the conceptual purpose of the law would be to apply standards that are morally valid on the basis of cultural consensus. For this reason, the theory of natural law is logically independent of the theory of morality of natural law. The remainder of this essay will deal exclusively with theories of natural law. Universal law is the law of nature. For there really is, like everyone else to some divine extent, a natural justice and injustice that is imposed on all, even those who have no connection or covenant with one another. This is what Sophocles` Antigone clearly means when she says that the burial of Polynices, despite the prohibition, was a just act: it means that it was intrinsically just: all law, including positive laws, is considered good according to the theory of natural law only if it conforms to natural law. and bad if it contradicts natural law. Legal positivism is a theory that opposes natural law because it disagrees that natural law is integral to the validity of law, and instead asserts that man-made laws are inherently social constructs that replace natural law, that positive laws are just. unjust or immoral.

In addition to the inevitable differences in the lists of goods compiled by natural law theorists, there are also more focused debates about the inclusion of certain presumed goods in the lists of natural law theorists. Note, for example, that of the lists above, only Chappell`s includes pleasure and the absence of pain. Whatever else we say here, it seems that common sense is on Chappell`s side at the moment: what seems more obvious than pleasure and avoiding pain are fundamental reasons to act? The reasons for the rejection of pleasure and the absence of pain from the list of goods are many: some authors assert, following Aristotle, that pleasure is not a good in abstraction from the activity in which pleasure is taken; certain that the absence of pain is not the completion or fulfillment of human nature and therefore cannot be part of the basic goods; Some say that avoiding pain is simply an example of another basic good, such as inner peace. This debate shows how difficult it is to formulate a catalogue of goods.