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NATURAL LAW

THEORY
Maria Josefina R. Alfonso (1-I)
Eunika Raiza V. Fernando (1-G)
Angela Paminter (1-I)
 Defined as the divine inspiration in man of the sense
of justice, fairness and righteousness, not by divine
revelation or formal promulgation, but by internal
dictates of reason alone (De Leon, 2008).
 It refers to a type of moral theory, and of legal
theory, but the core claims of the two kinds of theory
are logically independent (Himma, 2008).
 Natural law is ever present and binding on all men
everywhere and at all times. There is in every man a
basic understanding of right and wrong based on the
fundamental standard or criterion of good and evil.
Concepts and Precepts Behind the
 The precepts of natural law are righteousness, justice,
equity and fairness. Precepts are similar to a writ. It is
a rule or conduct imposing a particular standard of
action or conduct
 They have been put to use in the legal order in order
to justify, oppose, regulate, or interpret human acts
and conduct.
 They are considered as continuing, protective
principles that hold for every human society
notwithstanding differences in culture, dissimilar
levels of intelligence and varying ethical conception of
expressing them outwardly (Pascual, 1983).
Concepts and Precepts Behind the
Natural Law
 Natural law theory holds that law's “source-based
character”—its dependence upon social facts such
as legislation, custom or judicially established
precedents — is a fundamental and primary
element
Classic andin “law's
leadingcapacity to advance
contemporary texts the
of
common
natural good, to secure
law theory treathuman
law rights, or to
as morally
govern with integrity” (cf. Green 2003).
 problematic, understanding
Natural law theories it as a law
all understand normally
as a
indispensable
remedy against instrument
the greatofevils
greatof,good but one
on the one
that readily becomes
side anarchy an instrument
(lawlessness), and on the of other
great side
evil
unless itsAnd
tyranny. authors
one ofsteadily and
tyranny's vigilantly make
characteristic it
forms
good
is theby co-optation
recognizing ofand law
fulfilling
as a their
maskmoral
for
fundamentally lawless decisions cloaked in the
Concepts and Precepts Behind the
Natural Law
 What does the mainstream of natural law theory
intend by using the word “natural” in that name
for
Thethe theory?accurate answer is “of reason,” as
shortest
in “the law of reason” or “the requirements of
 reason.” Aquinas isaxiom:
A methodological particularly clearis and
X's nature explicit
understood
 that
Thus, inin this
by understanding
this context,
context, “natural”
X'sof is and
capacities,
“natural” predicated
which of
are
“rational”
something (say, a law, or a virtue) only when and
understood
and its that
because byof understanding
cognates is no
which it ismere their actuations,
confusion,
predicated but
is in line
which arein understood
with reason,
grounded practical byreason,
a sophisticated understanding their
or practical
distinction between
reason's
objects. requirements.
ontology But
andtheepistemology:
objects of chosenin the actsorder
are theof
intelligible
being, what intrinsic goods
is good and (aspects for
reasonable of us
human
is a
flourishing)ofwhich
resultant whatweisarefoundational,
directed to byour practical
given
nature (Green, 2003).
Two Kinds of Natural Law Theory
 Theory of morality
FIRST:
SECOND:
 Natural Moral
Thepropositions
law have
core of natural
theory of law what
law is sometimes
moral theory iscalled
the
objective standing in the sense that such propositions are
claim that standards of morality are in some sense derived
from,There
the bearers
Some is no
of clean
norms
or entailed by, division
objective
are between
truth-value;
authoritative
the nature inthe
of the notion
that
virtue
world of oftheir
is,
and law
moral
the
propositions
and
moral
nature the can be
notion
content,
of human of objectively
evenmorality.
when
beings. true is
Though
there
St. Thomas ornofalse.
there Though
are
convention
Aquinas, for moral
different
example, that
objectivism
versions ofthe is sometimes
natural lawa nature equated
theory, with
all human
subscribe moral
to the realism
makes
identifies moral merit
rational criterionof of legal validity.
beings as thesis
Theis
that
(Moore,
that there1992), the
aremoral relationship
at least some between
lawsand that the two theories
dependoffor their
which
idea defines
that
controversial. the law:
concepts "the
of rule
law and measure
morality human
intersect
"authority"
acts is the not on which
reason, some pre-existing
is the first human convention,
principle of human
in some way is called the Overlap Thesis.
but on the logical relationship in which they stand to
Two Kinds of Natural Law Theory
 One could accept a natural law theory of law
without holding a natural law theory of
morality.
 One could hold that the conceptual point of
law is, in part, to reproduce the demands of
morality, but also hold a form of ethical
subjectivism (or relativism).
 For this reason, natural law theory of law is
logically independent of natural law theory of
morality.
Conceptual Naturalism
The Project of Conceptual Jurisprudence
 Its principal objective has traditionally been to
provide an account of what distinguishes law as a
system of norms from other systems of norms,
such as ethical norms. Conceptual jurisprudence
seeks
The "the
task essence or naturejurisprudence
of conceptual which is common is toto
all
To laws that
provide
clarify the are
set ofproperly
a role of soanalysis
necessary
conceptual called"in(Austin
and 1995,
sufficient
law, Brian Bix
11).
(1995) distinguishes
conditions for athe number of different
existence of purposes
law thatthat
can be served by conceptual claims:
distinguishes law from non-law in every possible
(1) to track linguistic usage;
world.
(2) to stipulate meanings;
(3) to explain what is important or essential about a
class of objects; and
(4) to establish an evaluative test for the concept-
CONCEPTUAL NATURALISM
THE PROJECT OF CONCEPTUAL JURISPRUDENCE
 Conceptual analysis of law remains an important,
if controversial, project in contemporary legal
theory.
 Conceptual theories of law have traditionally been
characterized in terms of their posture towards
the Overlap Thesis.
 Thus, conceptual theories of law have
traditionally been divided into two main
categories:
 those like natural law legal theory that affirm there is
a conceptual relation between law; and
 morality and those like legal positivism that deny such
a relation.
Conceptual Naturalism
Classical Natural Law Theory
 All forms of natural law theory subscribe to the
Overlap Thesis, which asserts that there is some
kind of non-conventional relation between law
and morality. According to this view, then, the
 The natural law is comprised of those precepts of
notion of law cannot be fully articulated without
the eternal
some reference law that govern
to moral notions.the behavior of
 beings
Here itpossessing
is worth reason
noting and
thatfree will. The
Aquinas first
holds a
precept of the
natural law natural
theory law, according
of morality: togood
what is Aquinas,
and
is theaccording
evil, somewhattovacuous
Aquinas,imperative
is derivedtofrom
do good
the
and avoidnature
rational evil. of human beings. Good and evil
are thus both objective and universal.
Conceptual Naturalism
Classical Natural Law Theory
 St.Thomas Aquinas: a human law (that which
is promulgated by human beings) is valid only
insofar as its content conforms to the content
of the natural law:
"[E]very human law has just so much of the nature of law as is
 To paraphrase
derived from the law of Augustine's famous
nature. But if in any remark,
point it deflects froman
the
unjust
law law
of nature, it isisnoreally
longer a no
law law at all. of law" (ST I-II,
but a perversion
Q.95, A.II).
Conceptual Naturalism
Classical Natural Law Theory
A norm that does not conform to the natural
law cannot be legally valid
 As William Blackstone describes the thesis:
"This law of nature, being co-equal with mankind and
 Blackstone articulates the two claims that
dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to
constitute the theoretical core of conceptual
any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and
naturalism:
at 1) there
all times: no human canof be
laws are no legally
any validity, validto
if contrary
standards
this; and such that conflict
of them with
as are valid theallnatural
derive law;
their force, and
andtheir
all 2) authority,
all valid mediately
laws derive what force
or immediately, fromand
this
authority
original" (1979,they
41). have from the natural law.
Conceptual Naturalism
Classical Natural Law Theory
 It should be noted that classical naturalism is
consistent with allowing a substantial role to human
beings in the manufacture of law.
 While the classical naturalist seems committed to the
claim that the law necessarily incorporates all moral
principles, this claim does not imply that the law is
exhausted by the set of moral principles. There will
still be coordination problems (e.g., which side of the
road to drive on) that can be resolved in any number
of ways consistent with the set of moral principles.
 Thus, the classical naturalist does not deny that human
beings have considerable discretion in creating natural
law.
Conceptual Naturalism
Classical Natural Law Theory
 Another frequently expressed worry is that conceptual
naturalism undermines the possibility of moral
criticism of the law; inasmuch as conformity with
natural law is a necessary condition for legal validity,
all valid law is, by definition, morally just. Thus, on
this line of reasoning, the legal validity of a norm
necessarily entails its moral justice.
 Given that the norm being enforced by law is unjust, it
follows, according to conceptual naturalism, that it is
not legally valid. Thus, the state commits wrong by
enforcing that norm against private citizens.
 The project motivating conceptual jurisprudence,
then, is to articulate the concept of law in a way that
accounts for these pre-existing social practices.
Conceptual Naturalism
Classical Natural Law Theory
(A different perspective)
 Bix rejects the interpretation of Aquinas and
Blackstone as conceptual naturalists, arguing
instead that the claim that an unjust law is not a
law should not be taken literally:
 A more reasonable interpretation of statements
like "an unjust law is no law at all" is that unjust
laws are not laws "in the fullest sense."
 Thus, to say that an unjust law is "not really law"
may only be to point out that it does not carry the
same moral force or offer the same reasons for
action as laws consistent with "higher law" (Bix
1996, 226).
Philosophers in the History of
Natural Law  
 Heraclitus: Natural Law and the law of
nature.
 Originated from Ancient Greece
 Referred as the rational harmony and order of
divergent things and events.
 It is unwritten law pervading and ruling the whole
of nature without which the cosmos would be
plunged into chaos.
 The beginning of the concept of natural law was
originally intertwined with the notion of the law
of nature.
Philosophers in the History of
Natural Law
 Plato
and Aristotle: A discipline to which human
conduct must conform to.
 The first philosophical foundation to natural law, by
regarding it as a higher law.
 “Ought” is the only perfect or natural reality and that
the “Is” represents merely the imperfect application of
the “Ought”.
 Natural justice, that which is absolute and universal,
and legal justice, that which is indifferent and relative
 First thinkers to regard the natural law as a discipline
Philosophers in the History of
Natural Law
 Stoics: “Live consistently with nature”.
 Human conduct and activity must be brought in
agreement with order and stability, that is to say, with the
natural law.
 Epictetus: Natural law as the moral nature of man.
 Greek Stoic philosopher
 He developed his idea on the basis of materialism.
 He attached the concept of natural law to the moral
nature of man, thereby becoming man’s participation in
the divine law.
 He believed real good is innate in humans, but the only
thing to be feared, is the false and selfish traits of one’s
being that tend to frustrate or retard the fulfillment of
the natural.
Philosophers in the History of
Natural Law
 St. Paul: Conscience and Natural Law
 He was an apostle and a theologian.
 The conscience endorses the existence of
such law, for there is something which
condemns or commends their actions.
 It was his assessment of the enlightened
sense of right and wrong that cleared the
Stoic doctrine of its impersonal abstractions
and gave it the conception as a personal
discipline.
Philosophers in the History of
Natural Law
 St. Augustine: Natural Good Faith
 Natural good faith is present in all men, not
excluding the perverted and depraved, and
without regard to race, creed and station in
life.
He concludes that no man can really
plead ignorance of the natural law
because his natural good faith is never
silenced.