The Concepts of Natural Law

Introduction

            The concept of Natural Law is derived from the connection between human morality and the law laid down by an authority. The human morality is gauged from the ability to discern what is right and evil, and this later helps in peaceful cohesion among the people. Several theorists have indicated that Natural Law is not defined by any authority[1]. They are preferably defined by the ability of human beings to determine what laws are and behave in ways that depict moral understanding. Human beings understand that everything has a purpose in the natural world, and this includes their existence. Therefore, the Natural Law indicates that the goal of human beings is to live happily and always behave in a right way. The Natural Law rules out any action which harms other people[2]. The concept of Natural Law that is, what is right and wrong is universal to everyone.

Precursors to Natural Laws: Plato and Aristotle

            The concept of philosophers Aristotle and his teacher Plato on acceptable human actions in ancient Athens was among the most successful precursors of Natural Law. They derived their idea on the understanding of goodness in social activity. According to Plato, a right action referred to the reflection of justice, which cannot be seen physically. The reflection is in the form of good things that are done by the people. During Plato’s time, Athens was characterized with political upheavals which was viewed as results of teachings from great philosophers such Socrates[3]. Plato indicates that the teachings of Socrates led to an uprising among leaders, and this was treated as treason. This made Socrates to be hanged after being taken to court by Anytus and Miletus and tried by 500 judges[4]. Socrates, in his defense, indicates that he only questioned the evil system of governance and had no intention of nurturing rebellious leaders[5]. Aristotle and Plato indicate that goodness which leads to the rule of law is not attributed to been perfect but gradual experience of various actions which leads to the establishment of an acceptable behavior hence forming ethics.

Natural Law and Political Science

            The subject matter of Natural Law and its integration in political science focuses on the practice of good morals in the governance of the country. The study of Natural Law in the political science helps in the understanding of the human nature and thus assisting in drafting laws that promote good human behavior both in governing of the country and general relationship among people and businesses[6]. The Natural Law and political science are essential in shaping people into positive political thinking and thus nurturing the creativity and responsibility among people and leaders. In comparative politics, Natural Law is necessary in figuring out the best systems, which mainly provides specific values such as equality, order, freedom, social wellbeing, and economic stability. The Natural Law in comparative politics has been essential in coming up with general laws that govern human behavior in the political arena. Natural Law in the study of international relations is also an integral part in designing ways in which nations can relate beneficially. International relations and Natural Law go hand in hand in elaborating why unacceptable activities such as wars should be prevented, therefore promoting peace in the individual countries and the whole world.  This is important in fostering the economic prosperity, elimination of diseases, and general wellbeing of the people, hence helping them live happily.

Concepts and terms in Natural Law

            Natural Law or lex naturalis in Latin is a concept that that has been elaborated further by Thomas Aquinas, a catholic philosopher from the main Greek philosophy[7]. Aquinas developed the concepts from the Greek philosophy, which elaborated the difference between physis (nature) and nomos (law). The physis, which is perceived to be the same in every part of the world, gives rise to acceptable ways or customs of people living together; this is the law of nature. Aristotle urged that the law of nature was not conventional but rather a paradox of the existence of some beliefs which are deemed acceptable[8]. The ius naturale (natural right, justice), is said to be the main attribute of justice in the governance of the people. Aquinas indicates that natural rights should be an integral part of justice in the political arena and statesmanship. The natural justice influences the distribution of equality in the leadership and in the communities. The distribution of equal rights would be in the form of laid down rules, and this will be the basis of universal or Natural Law. CiceroMarcus in his work, De Legibus, indicates that law and Natural Law exist for the benefit of the people and thus should be utilized in the process of improving justice and unity of the human beings. According to Cicero, the Natural Law contributes to the goodwill of the leaders and the people to the larger society.

Natural law arguments and origin

            The biblical Natural Law is perceived as the law of God, and thus, there is no doubt on the fact that God has good intentions on His people[9]. The goodwill of God is seen after giving out the ten commandments to Moses, which were to enhance proper interrelations between Him and the people[10]. Natural Laws are first documented in the story of Ancient Athens by philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These laws and theories were then explained by philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, John Wild, Marcus Cicero, and A.J. Carlyle. The later philosophers gave a clear understanding of these laws.

Conclusion

            Natural Law has been an integral part of the formation and enforcement of the rule of law in the United States. These laws have formed the basis for good governance and thus promoting the goodwill of the leaders in facilitating better living standards, excellent health services, and security to the citizens. The integration of Natural Law and political science has led to a better understanding of the people on issues concerning equality and their inalienable rights. There, it is necessary to promote the Natural Laws in a country where there is a quest for justice and good governance.

Bibliography

Armstrong, R.A. “Primary and Secondary Precepts in Thomistic Naturalistic Law Teaching.”      The Hague; MartinusNijhoff. 1966.

Battaglia, A. “Towards Reformulation of Natural Law.” New York: Seabury Press. 2008.

Burns, Tony. “Aquinas: Doctrines of Natural Law.” Political Science. 48.  p. 930-946. 2000.

Corbett, J. R.“The question of Aristotle’s Natural Law.” History of Political Thought, 30, no. 2. P. 229-250. 2009.

Doyle, P. “A History of Political Thoughts.” London. Jonathan Cape. 2006.

Evans, I. “Lights on Natural Law.” Eds. London: Burns and Oates Publishers. 2009.

Finnis, J. “Aquinas: Political, Moral and Legal Theory.”Oxford University Press. 2009.

Finnis, J. “Natural Law, and Natural Rights.” Oxford University Press. 2009.

Fredric, Hayek. “Studies in Philosophy, Economics, and politics.” P. 97-98. 2016

John, Locke. Law of Nature. Oxford University Press. P. 112. 2005.

Knud, Haakonssen. “Richard Cumberland: Obligation of Natural Law.” English Philosophy.     Oxford University Press. Stewart. 2000.

Rothbard, Murray. “Positive law versus Natural Law.” Ethics of liberty. P. 17. 2013.

Wilcox, Russell. Natural Law. Oxford University Press. 2013

Waldron, Jeremy. God and Equality; Christian Foundations in Locke’s Political Thought. Cambridge University Press. P. 13. 2002.


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