Natural Law

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Natural Law

In philosophy, the idea that that right and wrong are fixed, immutable things that human reason can discern. Some natural law theorists base natural law on their ideas about God, but one does not need to believe in God in order to believe in natural law. It forms the philosophical basis for what are now called human rights and for that reason is an important contributor to modern liberalism.
References in periodicals archive ?
Of course, there is a tendency in the natural-law tradition to overstate the contrast between preferences and reasons, which I do not want to repeat here.
Interestingly, Grabill's account of Calvin's natural-law thinking points to some resources for this task, not least by stressing continuities between Calvin's rhetorical approach to theology and the discourse of late medieval accounts of the natural law.
No civilization ever has attempted to maintain the bed of justice by direct application of natural-law doctrines by magistrates; necessarily, it is by edict, rescript, and statute that any state keeps the peace through a system of courts.
These rules variously (according to the several differing schools of natural-law and natural-rights speculation) are derived from divine commandment; from the nature of humankind; from abstract Reason; or from long experience of mankind in community.
Moreover, the ancient natural-law conceptions that nature is teleological and that human sexuality should be restricted to those acts which may result m reproduction are now matters of contentious debate, even though they may once have been widely accepted.
By orienting themselves so much to the ancient natural-law tradition, they miss the main point of the modern natural-law tradition (which includes such venerable figures as Hugo Grotius, Samuel Pufendorf, John Locke, and even David Hume), which was to refute the ever-present skeptics by providing a firm and unchallengeable foundation and progression for the arguments for justice.
This covenant of preservation, VanDrunen argues, contains a minimalist natural-law ethic, and because it is made with Noah as a representative of all human beings and with all of creation, this ethic endures until the eschaton.
There is much to what Forte says, and he is right that most of these criteria, consciously or unconsciously, derive from or rely upon principles of natural-law reasoning.
indicates that she holds a singular notion of humanism, one which is rooted in a (revised) natural-law ethic.
As a political theorist, Hugo Grotius is especially interesting for his attempt to develop a natural-law alternative to the Thomistic natural law while at the same time resisting the modern doctrine of his younger contemporary, Thomas Hobbes.
In an era in which very long treatises are still written about very fine points in the natural-law tradition, one should not overlook this deceptively thin volume with its apparently sweeping subject matter.