Natural law (Latin: ius naturale, lex naturalis) is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature—traditionally by God or a transcendent source—and that these can be understood universally through human reason. As determined by nature, the law of nature is implied to be objective and universal; it exists independently of human understanding, and of the positive law of a given state, political order, legislature or society at large.
Historically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behavior from nature's or God's creation of reality and mankind. The concept of natural law was documented in ancient Greek philosophy, including Aristotle, and was referred to in Roman philosophy by Cicero. References to natural law are also found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, later expounded upon in the Middle Ages by Christian philosophers such as Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas. The School of Salamanca made notable contributions during the Renaissance. Modern natural law theories were greatly developed in the Age of Enlightenment, combining inspiration from Roman law with philosophies like social contract theory. Key proponents were Alberico Gentili, Francisco Suárez, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, Matthew Hale, John Locke, Francis Hutcheson, Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, Emmerich de Vattel, Cesare Beccaria and Francesco Mario Pagano. It was used to challenge the divine right of kings, and became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, and government—and thus legal rights—in the form of classical republicanism. Conversely, the concept of natural rights is used by others to challenge the legitimacy of all such establishments.
Contemporarily, the concept of natural law is closely related to the concept of natural rights. Indeed, many philosophers, jurists and scholars use natural law synonymously with natural rights (Latin: ius naturale), or natural justice. while 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 United States Declaration of Independence (1776), the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) of France, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights (1953) of the European Union.
The use of natural law, in its various incarnations, has varied widely throughout history. There are a number of theories of natural law, that differ from each other with respect to the role that morality plays in determining the authority of legal norms. This article deals with its usages separately rather than attempt to unify them into a single theory.
Those who see biblical support for the doctrine of natural law often point to Abraham's interrogation of God on behalf of the iniquitous city of Sodom. Abraham even dares to tell the Most High that his plan to destroy the city (Genesis 18:25) would violate God’s own justice: “That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do justly?" This almost Socratic reply became for later writers the beginnings of natural rights theory. In this respect, natural law as described in the interaction between Abraham and God predates the later Greek exposition of it by Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.
According to the Genesis flood narrative, a deluge covered the whole world, killing every surface-dwelling creature except Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, and the animals taken aboard Noah's Ark. According to this, all modern humans are descendants of Noah, thus the name Noahide Laws in reference to laws that apply to all of humanity. After the flood, God sealed a covenant with Noah with the following admonitions (Genesis 9):
Although Plato did not have an explicit theory of natural law (he rarely used the phrase 'natural law' except in Gorgias 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, most fundamentally the Form of the Good, 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, the Good is closely identified with the Beautiful. In the Symposium, Plato describes how the experience of the Beautiful by Socrates enabled him to resist the temptations of wealth and sex. In the Republic, the ideal community is "a city which would be established in accordance with nature".
Greek philosophy 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 that the distinction between nature and custom could engender, Socrates and his philosophic heirs, Plato and Aristotle, posited the existence of natural justice or natural right (dikaion physikon, δικαιον φυσικον, 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. 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 (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 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 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, 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 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 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, 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.
The development of this tradition of natural justice into one of natural law is usually attributed to the Stoics. 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, in contradistinction to being the result of divine positive legislation, 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), 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.
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, he writes:
There is indeed a law, right reason, which is in accordance with nature ; existing in all, unchangeable, eternal. Commanding us to do what is right, forbidding us to do what is wrong. It has dominion over good men, but possesses no influence over bad ones. No other law can be substituted for it, no part of it can be taken away, nor can it be abrogated altogether. Neither the people or the senate can absolve from it. It is not one thing at Rome, and another thing at Athens : one thing to-day, and another thing to-morrow ; but it is eternal and immutable for all nations and for all time.
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 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, 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 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, 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'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 "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."
The New Testament carries a further exposition on the Abrahamic dialogue and links to the later Greek exposition on the subject, when Paul's Epistle to the Romans states: "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, 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, 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, especially those in the West, saw natural law as part of the natural foundation of Christianity. The most notable among these was Augustine of Hippo, 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 and grace of Jesus Christ.
In the twelfth century, Gratian equated the natural law with divine law. Albertus Magnus would address the subject a century later, and his pupil, St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica 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, it needed to be supplemented by revealed Divine law. (See also Biblical law in Christianity.) 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 natural law was inherently teleological, however, it is most assuredly not deontological. For Christians, natural law is how human beings manifest the divine image in their life. This mimicry of God'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, 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, some Protestant denominations maintained parts of the Catholic concept of natural law. The English theologian Richard Hooker from the Church of England adapted Thomistic notions of natural law to Anglicanism five principles: to live, to learn, to reproduce, to worship God, and to live in an ordered society.
Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, an Islamic scholar and polymath scientist, understood natural law as the survival of the fittest. He argued that the antagonism between human beings can only be overcome through a divine law, which he believed to have been sent through prophets. This is also the position of the Ashari school, the largest school of Sunni theology. Averroes (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 or to protect religion, life, property, offspring, and reason. The concept of natural law entered the mainstream of Western culture through his Aristotelian commentaries, influencing the subsequent Averroist movement and the writings of Thomas Aquinas.
The Maturidi school, the second largest school of Sunni theology, posits the existence of a form of natural law. 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 is known to be evil by reason alone due to people's working hard for their property. Killing, fornication, and drinking alcohol were all 'evils' the human mind could know of according to al-Maturidi. The concept of Istislah in Islamic law bears some similarities to the natural law tradition in the West, as exemplified by Thomas Aquinas. However, whereas natural law deems good what is self-evidently good, according as it tends towards the fulfilment of the person, istislah calls good whatever is connected to one of five "basic goods". Al-Ghazali abstracted these "basic goods" from the legal precepts in the Qur'an and Sunnah: they are religion, life, reason, lineage and property. Some add also "honour". Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya also posited that human reason could discern between 'great sins' and good deeds.
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 [Bairla-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.
The Catholic Church holds the view of natural law introduced by Albertus Magnus and elaborated by Thomas Aquinas, particularly in his Summa Theologiae, and often as filtered through the School of Salamanca. This view is also shared by some Protestants, and was delineated by Anglican 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 perhaps), and that the two are inextricably linked. Humans are capable of discerning the difference between good and evil because they have a conscience. There are many manifestations of the good that we can pursue. Some, like procreation, 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:
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 are acquired through reason applied to nature; they are:
The theological virtues are:
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.
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 (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 young apprentice lawyer Thomas Jefferson.
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 for his statement that "virtue alone produces happiness."
Christopher St. Germain's Doctor and Student was a classic of English jurisprudence, and it was thoroughly annotated by Thomas Jefferson. St. Germain informs his readers that English lawyers generally don't use the phrase "law of nature", but rather use "reason" as the preferred synonym. 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 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, Cicero, and the Apostle Paul; 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, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, and the Apostle Paul. 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's De jure belli ac pacis, Francisco Suárez's Tractatus de legibus ac deo legislatore, and John Selden'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."
By the 17th century, the medieval teleological view came under intense criticism from some quarters. Thomas Hobbes instead founded a contractarian theory of legal positivism 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, 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's modifications on legal positivism further developed the theory.
As used by Thomas Hobbes in his treatises Leviathan and De Cive, natural law is "a precept, or general rule, found out by reason, 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").
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'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'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."
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, Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf "in the triumvirate of seventeenth-century founders of the 'modern' school of natural law." The eighteenth-century philosophers Shaftesbury and 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, 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 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."
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 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.
Sir Alberico Gentili and Hugo Grotius based their philosophies of international law on natural law. In particular, his 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 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.
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 Aquinas (filtered through Richard Hooker) or Hobbes' radical reinterpretation, though the effect of Locke's understanding is usually phrased in terms of a revision of Hobbes upon Hobbesian 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, 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"), from 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, arguably echoing Locke, appealed to unalienable rights in the 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." 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. Libertarian 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." 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 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)."
Economist and philosopher 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 rationalist reinterpretation of the law of nature. 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 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, 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."
In jurisprudence, natural law can refer to the several doctrines:
Whereas legal positivism 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. Legal interpretivism, famously defended in the English-speaking world by Ronald Dworkin, claims to have a position different from both natural law and positivism.
The concept of natural law was very important in the development of the English common law. In the struggles between Parliament and the 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, 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, like Jeremy Bentham, 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 and Brazilian Emídio Brasileiro. All have tried to construct a new version of natural law. The 19th-century 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-evidently and intrinsically worthwhile, and states that these goods reveal themselves as being incommensurable with one another.
The 1996 California State Assembly elections were held November 5, 1996. California's State Assembly in its entirety comes up for election in even numbered years. Each seat has a two-year term and members are limited to three 2-year terms (six years). All 80 biennially elected seats in the Assembly were up for election this year. Democrats gained 4 seats, retaking control of the Assembly after narrowly losing control in 1994.1996 United States House of Representatives elections
The 1996 United States House of Representatives elections was an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 5, 1996, which coincided with the re-election of President Bill Clinton. Democrats won by almost 60,000 votes (0.07%) and gained a net of two seats from the Republicans, but the Republicans retained an overall majority of seats in the House for the first time since 1928.
Although the Republicans lost 3 seats, 1 of them included an Independent who would caucus with them and switch to the Republicans. This resulted in a 227 Republican majority to the Democrats' 208 minority which also included an Independent caucusing with them.
The election is similar to the 1952 elections, although, in terms of the total vote this result remains one of the closest in U.S. history.1996 United States House of Representatives elections in California
The United States House of Representatives elections in California, 1996 was an election for California's delegation to the United States House of Representatives, which occurred as part of the general election of the House of Representatives on November 5, 1996. The delegation went from being tied to slightly majority-Democratic, with Democrats gaining 3 seats.1998 United States House of Representatives elections
The 1998 United States House of Representatives elections were part of the midterm elections held during President Bill Clinton's second term. They were a major disappointment to the Republicans, who were expecting to gain seats due to the embarrassment Clinton suffered during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and the "six-year itch" effect observed in most second-term midterm elections. However, the Republicans lost five seats to the Democrats, but retained a narrow majority in the House. A wave of Republican discontent with Speaker Newt Gingrich prompted him to resign shortly after the election; he was replaced by Congressman Dennis Hastert of Illinois.
The campaign was marked by Republican attacks on the morality of President Bill Clinton, with Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr having released his report on the Lewinsky scandal and House leaders having initiated an inquiry into whether impeachable offenses had occurred. However, exit polls indicated that most voters opposed impeaching Clinton, and predictions of high Republican or low Democratic turnout due to the scandal failed to materialize. Some speculate that the losses reflected a backlash against the Republicans for attacking the popular President Clinton. With the Republicans having lost 4 House seats and failing to gain any seats in the Senate, it was the first time since 1934 that the non-presidential party failed to gain congressional seats in a mid-term election. This status quo election was also due to the strong and growing economy due to the Dot Com Bubble. It was also the first time since 1822 that the non-presidential party had failed to gain seats in the mid-term election of a President's second term.
Seats picked up by the Democrats included Kansas's 3rd district, Nevada's 1st district, Pennsylvania's 13th district, New Mexico's 3rd district, New Jersey's 12th district, Kentucky's 4th district, Mississippi's 4th district, California's 1st district, Wisconsin's 2nd district, Washington's 1st district, and Washington's 3rd district. The Republicans, however, picked up seats in Kentucky's 6th district, Wisconsin's 8th district, California's 3rd district, California's 36th district, Pennsylvania's 15th district, and North Carolina's 8th district.1998 United States House of Representatives elections in California
The United States House of Representatives elections in California, 1998 was an election for California's delegation to the United States House of Representatives, which occurred as part of the general election of the House of Representatives on November 3, 1998. Democrats gained the 1st district but lost the 3rd and 36th (which they would gain back in 2000) districts for a net loss of one seat.2000 United States House of Representatives elections in California
The United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2000 was an election for California's delegation to the United States House of Representatives, which occurred as part of the general election of the House of Representatives on November 7, 2000. Democrats gained five seats, one of which was held by Matthew G. Martinez who switched to the Republican Party after being defeated in the Democratic primary, expanding their majority in California's delegation.Determinatio
A determinatio is an authoritative determination by the legislator concerning the application of practical principles, that is not necessitated by deduction from natural or divine law but is based on the contingencies of practical judgement within the possibilities allowed by reason.In natural law jurisprudence, determinatio is the process of making natural law into positive law In Catholic canon law, determinatio is the act by which natural law or divine positive law is made determinate in the canonical legal system as specific norms of law, although the content of such law is still essentially that of divine law, which, together with canon law, forms "a single juridical system of law".The concept derives from the legal philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, and continues to be a part of discussions in natural law theory.Divine law
Divine law is any law that is understood as deriving from a transcendent source, such as the will of God or gods, in contrast to man-made law. Divine laws are typically regarded as superior to man-made laws, sometimes due to an understanding that their source has resources beyond human knowledge and human reason. They are accorded greater authority, and cannot be changed by human authorities.Divine laws are noted for their inflexibility. Divine laws are often understood as beyond the authority of humans to change. The introduction of interpretation into divine law is a controversial issue, since believers place high significance on adhering to the law precisely. Opponents to the application of divine law typically deny that it is purely divine and point out human influences in the law. This element of human influence is understood as incorporating some degree of fallibility. These opponents characterize such laws as belonging to a particular cultural tradition. Adherents of divine law, on the other hand, are sometimes reluctant to adapt divine laws to cultural contexts.Divine law may be transmitted through several mediums. Most frequently, that are transmitted through religious texts. Medieval Christianity understood there to be three kinds of laws: divine law, natural law, and man-made law. Others, on the other hand, understand natural law as a subset of divine law delivered through general revelation from a creator deity. Theologians have substantially debated the scope of natural law, with the Enlightenment encouraging greater use of reason and expanding the scope of natural law and marginalizing divine law in a process of secularization. Some people may understand themselves as receiving guidance through prayer or conscience, although the moral authority of these methods of transmission are much lower.Since the authority of divine law is rooted in its source, the origin and transmission history of divine law are important.There are frequently conflicts between secular understandings of justice or morality and divine law.Religious law, such as canon law, includes both divine law and additional interpretations, logical extensions, and traditions.Human rights
Human rights are "the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled" Examples of rights and freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, freedom of expression, pursuit of happiness and equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights, including the right to participate in science and culture, the right to work, and the right to education.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.John Hagelin
John Samuel Hagelin (born June 9, 1954) is the leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement in the United States. He is president of the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, and honorary chair of its board of trustees. The university was established in 1973 by the TM movement's founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to deliver a "consciousness-based education".A physicist by training, Hagelin was a researcher at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in the early 1980s. He has argued that the supersymmetric flipped SU(5) model, a unified field theory that he helped to develop, is identical to the "unified field of consciousness" posited by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This view is highly controversial among physicists.Hagelin stood as a candidate for President of the United States for the Natural Law Party, a party founded by the TM movement, in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections. He is the author of Manual for a Perfect Government (1998), which sets out how to apply "natural law" to matters of governance. Hagelin is also president of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes TM.Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law, principally by philosophers but, from the twentieth century, also by social scientists. Scholars of jurisprudence, also known as jurists or legal theorists, hope to obtain a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.Modern jurisprudence began in the 18th century and was focused on the first principles of natural law, civil law, and the law of nations. General jurisprudence can be divided into categories both by the type of question scholars seek to answer and by the theories of jurisprudence, or schools of thought, regarding how those questions are best answered. Contemporary philosophy of law, which deals with general jurisprudence, addresses problems internal to law and legal systems and problems of law as a social institution that relates to the larger political and social context in which it exists.This article addresses three distinct branches of thought in general jurisprudence. Ancient natural law is the idea that there are rational objective limits to the power of legislative rulers. The foundations of law are accessible through reason, and it is from these laws of nature that human laws gain whatever force they have. Analytic jurisprudence (Clarificatory jurisprudence) rejects natural law's fusing of what law is and what it ought to be. It espouses the use of a neutral point of view and descriptive language when referring to aspects of legal systems. It encompasses such theories of jurisprudence as "legal positivism", which holds that there is no necessary connection between law and morality and that the force of law comes from basic social facts; and "legal realism", which argues that the real-world practice of law determines what law is, the law having the force that it does because of what legislators, lawyers, and judges do with it. Normative jurisprudence is concerned with "evaluative" theories of law. It deals with what the goal or purpose of law is, or what moral or political theories provide a foundation for the law. It not only addresses the question "What is law?", but also tries to determine what the proper function of law should be, or what sorts of acts should be subject to legal sanctions, and what sorts of punishment should be permitted.Mike Tompkins
Mike Tompkins is a U.S. politician who was the Natural Law Party vice presidential candidate during the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections.Natural-law argument
Natural-law argument for the existence of God was especially popular in the eighteenth century as a result of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. As Bertrand Russell pointed out much later, many of the things we consider to be laws of nature, in fact, are human conventions. Indeed, Albert Einstein has shown that Newton's law of universal gravitation was such a convention, and though elegant and useful, one that did not describe the universe precisely. Most true laws are rather trivial, such as mathematical laws, laws of probability, and so forth, and much less impressive than those that were envisioned by Newton and his followers. Russell wrote:
"If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law-giver. In short, this whole argument from natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have."The argument of natural laws as a basis for God was changed by Christian figures such as Thomas Aquinas, in order to fit biblical scripture and establish a Judeo-Christian teleological law.Natural Law Party
The Natural Law Party (NLP) is a transnational party founded in 1992 on "the principles of Transcendental Meditation", the laws of nature, and their application to all levels of government. At its peak, it was active in up to 74 countries; it continues in India and some parts of the United States. The party defines "natural law" as the organizing intelligence which governs the natural universe. The Natural Law Party advocates using the Transcendental Meditation technique and the TM-Sidhi program as tools to enliven natural law and reduce or eliminate problems in society.Prominent candidates included John Hagelin for U.S. president and Doug Henning as representative of Rosedale, Toronto, Canada. George Harrison performed a benefit concert in support of the party in 1992. Electoral success was achieved by the Ajeya Bharat Party in India, which elected a legislator to the state assembly, and the Croatian NLP, which elected a member of their regional assembly in 1993. In the USA its organization was reported to rival that of other "established third parties".Natural Law Party (United States)
The Natural Law Party (NLP) was a United States political party affiliated with the international Natural Law Party. It was founded in 1992 and was dissolved in many areas beginning in 2004. It is still active in Michigan.
The party proposed that political problems could be solved through alignment with the unified field of all the laws of nature through the use of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs. Leading members of party were associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of Transcendental Meditation movement.
The American version of the Natural Law Party ran John Hagelin as its presidential candidate in 1992, 1996, and 2000. The party also ran congressional and local candidates. It attempted to merge with the Reform Party in 2000. Several state affiliates have kept their ballot positions and have allied with other small parties.Natural Law Party of Canada
The Natural Law Party of Canada (NLPC) was the Canadian branch of the international Natural Law Party founded in 1992 by a group of educators, business leaders, and lawyers who practised Transcendental Meditation.Natural and legal rights
Natural and legal rights are two types of rights. Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are universal and inalienable (they cannot be repealed by human laws, though one can forfeit their enforcement through one's actions, such as by violating someone else's rights.) Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system (they can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws).
The concept of natural law is related to the concept of natural rights. Natural law first appeared in ancient Greek philosophy, and was referred to by Roman philosopher Cicero. It was subsequently alluded to in the Bible, and then developed in the Middle Ages by Catholic philosophers such as Albert the Great and his pupil Thomas Aquinas. During the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of natural laws was used to challenge the divine right of kings, and became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, and government – and thus legal rights – in the form of classical republicanism. Conversely, the concept of natural rights is used by others to challenge the legitimacy of all such establishments.
The idea of human rights is also closely related to that of natural rights: some acknowledge no difference between the two, regarding them as synonymous, while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights. Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body to dismiss. The 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an important legal instrument enshrining one conception of natural rights into international soft law. Natural rights were traditionally viewed as exclusively negative rights, whereas human rights also comprise positive rights. Even on a natural rights conception of human rights, the two terms may not be synonymous.
The proposition that animals have natural rights is one that gained the interest of philosophers and legal scholars in the 20th century and into the 21st.Supernatural
The concept of the supernatural encompasses anything that is inexplicable by scientific understanding of the laws of nature but nevertheless argued by believers to exist. Examples include immaterial beings such as angels, gods and spirits, and claimed human abilities like magic, telekinesis and extrasensory perception.
Historically, supernatural entities have been invoked to explain phenomena as diverse as lightning, seasons and the human senses. Naturalists maintain that nothing beyond the physical world exists and hence maintain skeptical attitudes towards supernatural concepts.The supernatural is featured in paranormal, occult and religious contexts, but can also feature as an explanation in more secular contexts.Treatise on Law
Treatise on Law is St. Thomas Aquinas' major work of legal philosophy. It forms questions 90–108 of the Prima Secundæ ("First [Part] of the Second [Part]") of the Summa Theologiæ, Aquinas' masterwork of Scholastic philosophical theology. Along with Aristotelianism, it forms the basis for the legal theory of Catholic canon law.
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