Hegel Essay Natural Law

As one contemporary critic has put it, "the philosophers tended to say that the natural law was not natural, and the lawyers that it was not law." [3] Nevertheless, with the Thomistic revival in the latter part of the nineteenth century, an interest in natural law appeared to be in full swing again by the first quarter of the present century, particularly in Catholic circles.

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Or why does the football coach insist that a tackle be made in one way rather than another?

Is it just because he happens to like the one way rather than the other; or is it because there are reasons why one way of making the tackle is better than some other?

And it is just such points that we need to be clearer about, if we are ever to find our way around in the contemporary literature, particularly as it surrounds the newly emerging contemporary rights theories.

To this end, we would make reference to an exceedingly illuminating article published in a few years ago by Vernon Bourke, entitled "Is Thomas Aquinas a Natural Law Ethicist?

Likewise, what may be right or just according to the standards of a given community or society may still be radically at variance with the standards of a natural right or a natural justice.

Yes, might not one be inclined to say that in the Shcharansky case, for example, it is patent and obvious for all to see the glaring disparity between what the civil or military authorities are agreed in saying is just and right and what is really so?Plato and Aristotle, however, promptly revived it, if not in name, then certainly in essence.And with the Stoics, it really came into full flower.By contrast, in the other view of natural law, namely, that of Thomas Aquinas, a natural law theory of ethics or politics stresses, as Bourke puts it, "the rational discernment of norms of human conduct, working from man's ordinary experiences in a world environment of many different kinds of things." Bourke's way of characterizing the Thomistic understanding of natural law may appear to be a bit of a mouthful.But why not consider ethics and politics, as construed in the light of this conception of natural law, as analogous to certain arts, skills, and crafts?There is presumably some reason - a real reason - for his doing it that way rather than another.In this sense, we should scarcely say that the rules of good surgical practice are mere agreed-upon conventions with no natural basis at all.And now just as suddenly, and seemingly no less unpredictably, there has been a dramatic revival of interest in so-called "rights theories" - and this just in the last ten, perhaps even in just the last five, years.True, such recent rights theories have not always involved an effort at reinstating anything like "natural" rights, and certainly not "natural law." Yet many of them have.Why does the skilled surgeon, for instance, make his incision in one way rather than another?Don't we say that it is because he knows how to do the job?

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