Natural Law

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NATURAL LAW
Natural law or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis) has been described as a
law whose content is set by nature and that therefore is universal.[1] As classically
used, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and
deduce binding rules of moral behavior. The phrase natural law is opposed to the
positive law (meaning "man-made law", not "good law"; cf. posit) of a given
political community, society, or nation-state, and thus can function as a standard
by which to criticize that law.[2]
The use of natural law, in its various incarnations, has varied widely through its
history. There are a number of different theories of natural law, differing from
each other with respect to the role that morality plays in determining the authority
of legal norms.
Stoic natural law
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.[11] Whereas the "higher" law to
which Aristotle suggested one could appeal was emphatically natural, in contradistinction
to being the result of divine positive legislation, the Stoic natural law was indifferent to
the divine or natural 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 spelled out
action that accorded with virtue.[1]
‘Natural law theory’ is a label that has been applied to theories of ethics, theories
of politics, theories of civil law, and theories of religious morality.
The term “natural law” is ambiguous. It refers to a type of moral theory, as well as
to a type of legal theory, but the core claims of the two kinds of theory are
logically independent. It does not refer to the laws of nature, the laws that
science aims to describe. According to natural law moral theory, the moral
standards that govern human behavior are, in some sense, objectively derived
from the nature of human beings and the nature of the world. While being
logically independent of natural law legal theory, the two theories intersect.
natural law, in philosophy, a system of right or justice held to be common to all humans
and derived from nature rather than from the rules of society, or positive law.
There have been several disagreements over the meaning of natural law and its relation to
positive law. Aristotle (384–322 bce) held that what was “just by nature” was not always
the same as what was “just by law,” that there was a natural justice valid everywhere with
the same force and “not existing by people’s thinking this or that,”
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