Greek Theory of Natural Law
The natural philosophy occupied an important place in the realm of politics, law, religion and ethics from the earliest times. It has played the role of harmonising, synthesising, and promoting peace and justice in different periods and protected public against injustice, tyranny and misrule. Commending the function of natural law in liberating people from politico – legal disorder and tracing its evolution, Blackstone observed:
“the natural law being co – existent with mankind and emanating from God Himself, is superior to all other laws. It is binding over all the countries at all countries at all the times and no man – made law will be valid if it is contrary to the law of nature.
The natural law theory reflects a perpetual quest for absolute justice. Thus it should not be misconceived that natural law has a mere theoretical significance. Its practical value is a historical fact as it generated a wave of liberalism and individual freedom and inspired people to revolt against totalitarian rule in France and Germany. The international law owes its origin, development and validity to the natural law philosophy. The law of nations derives its force and authority from the natural law.
Dr. Friedmann has stated that the history of natural law is a tale of the search of mankind for absolute justice and its failure. Therefore, with the changes in social and political conditions, the notions about natural law have also been changing. Thus natural law has acted as a catalyst for bringing about transformation of the old prevailing legal system. It brought about a change in the old Roman law of Justinian period. The greatest contribution of natural law theory to the legal system is its ideology of a universal order governing all men and the inalienable right of the individual.
In an ancient society, natural law was believed to have a divine origin. During the medieval period it had a religious and super – natural basis but in modern times it has a strong political and legal mooring. It has been rightly pointed out by Lord Lloyd that natural law has been devised as a mere law of self – preservation or a law restraining people to a certain behaviour. It has found expression in modern legal systems in the form of socio – economic justice. The entire human rights philosophy is an outcome of the growing importance of the principles of natural justice. The natural law theory acts as a catalyst to boost social transformation thus the society from stagnation.
The history of natural law is a tale of the search of mankind for absolute justice and of its failure. Again and again, in the course of the last 2,500 years, the idea of natural law has appeared, in some form or other, as an expression of the search for an ideal higher than positive law after having been rejected and derided in the interval. With changing social and political conditions the notions about natural law have changed. The only thing that has remained constant is the appeal to something higher than positive law. The object of that appeal has been as often the justification of existing authority as a revolt against it.
Natural law has fulfilled many functions. It has been the principle instrument in the transformation of the old civil law of the Romans into a broad and cosmopolitan system; it has been a weapon used by both sides in the fight between the medieval Church and the German emperors; in its name the validity of international law has been asserted, and appeal for freedom of the individual against absolutism launched. Again it was by appeal to principles of natural law that American judges, professing to interpret the Constitution, resisted the attempt of state legislation to modify and restrict the unfettered economic freedom of the individual.
· The Legacy of Greece and Rome
The doctrine of the natural law is as old as philosophy. Just as wonder, according to Aristotle, lies at the beginning of philosophy, so, too, is it found at the beginning of the doctrine of natural law.
The idea of a natural law can emerge only when men come to perceive that not all law is unalterable and unchanging divine law. It can emerge only when critical reason, looking back over history, notes the profound changes that have occurred in the realm of law and mores and becomes aware of the diversity of the legal and moral institutions of its own people in the course of its history; and when, furthermore, gazing beyond the confines of its own city-state or tribe, it notices the dissimilarity of the institutions of neighboring peoples. When, therefore, human reason wonderingly verifies this diversity, it first arrives at the distinction between divine and human law. But it soon has to grapple with the natural law, with the question of the moral basis of human laws. This is at the same time the problem of why laws are binding. How can laws bind the conscience of an individual? Wherein lies, properly speaking, the ethical foundation of the coercive power of the state’s legal and moral order? Closely connected with these problems is the question of the best laws or best state, a matter which from the time of Plato has engaged the attention of nearly all exponents of the great systems of natural law. Before long, however, a related idea made its appearance. This was the view that the tribal deities are not the ultimate form of the religious background of reality. For if an eternal, immutable law obliges men to obey particular laws, behind the popular Edition: current; Page: images of tribal deities exists an eternal, all-wise Lawgiver who has the power to bind and to loose.
It is quite understandable, then, that the philosophical conception of the natural law should have made its first appearance in the area of Western culture among the ancient Greeks. This dynamic people was endowed with a penetrating critical intelligence, with an early maturing consciousness of the individual mind, and with great power of political organization. Indeed, Western political philosophy likewise originated in this gifted people.
It is a remarkable fact that at the very beginning of the Greek philosophy of law (or rather of the laws), and therewith of the natural law, a distinction came to light which has survived down to the present time, a distinction between two conceptions of the natural law. One is the idea of a revolutionary and individualistic natural law essentially bound up with the basic doctrine of the state of nature as well as with the concept of the state as a social unit which rests upon a free contract, is arbitrary and artificial, is determined by utility, and is not metaphysically necessary. The other is the idea of a natural law grounded in metaphysics that does not exist in a mythical state of nature before the “laws,” but lives and ought to live in them—a natural law which one would fain, though somewhat ineptly, style conservative. It is further significant that the notion of God as supreme Lawgiver is intimately connected with the latter conception. Both of these tendencies are already plainly visible in the first Sophists and in Heraclitus, the great forerunner of Plato.
Heraclitus of Ephesus (cir. 536–470 b.c.) is famous for his thesis that “all things flow; nothing abides.” But this ceaseless changing of things led him directly to the idea of an eternal norm and harmony, which exists unchangeable amid the continual variation of phenomena. A fundamental law, a divine common logos, a universal reason holds sway: not chance, lawlessness, or irrational change. Natural occurrences are ruled by a reason that establishes order. Man’s nature as well as his Edition: current; Page: ethical goal consists, then, in the subordination or conformity of individual and social life to the general law of the universe. This is the primordial norm of moral being and conduct. “Wisdom is the foremost virtue, and wisdom consists in speaking the truth, and in lending an ear to nature and acting according to her. Wisdom is common to all. … They who would speak with intelligence must hold fast to the (wisdom that is) common to all, as a city holds fast to its law, and even more strongly. For all human laws are fed by one divine law.” The laws of men are but attempts to realize this divine law. Wherefore, declares this conservative aristocrat, the people ought not to resist the laws, which to him are the embodiment of the divine law. On the contrary, “the people ought to fight in defense of the law as they do of their city wall.” Thus in the diversity of human laws (not beyond them) there flashed upon Heraclitus the idea of an eternal law of nature that corresponds to man’s reason as sharing in the eternal logos. The variety of human laws does not exclude the idea of the natural law. For through the contingency and diversity of human laws rational thought perceives the truth of the eternal law, whereas sense perception—the eye and the ear—notices only what is different and unlike. With Heraclitus, the “Obscure Philosopher,” the thinker who speaks in obscure symbols, the idea of the natural law for the first time emerged as a natural, unchangeable law from which all human laws draw their force.
Heraclitus’ doctrine had a practical aim. It was intended to stress the value of the laws and their binding force against the fickleness of the uncritical masses. Prone to novelties of all kinds and woefully lacking in powers of discrimination, the masses were subject to capricious fluctuations of opinion. They thus fell easy prey to the demagogy of the Sophists.
It is no easy matter to judge the Sophists fairly. For one thing their teachings have come down to us in a very fragmentary form and are known to us chiefly from the dialogues of Plato, their great adversary. Moreover, as popular orators with a leaning toward demagogy, they were fond of oversimplified slogans and paradoxical statements. This Edition: current; Page: earned for them, among posterity, the sinister reputation of philosophical ropedancers, rationalistic revolutionaries, and contemners of the law. For this reputation Plato has been particularly responsible. But this judgment is, to say the least, far too harsh. That the Sophists had of necessity to appear to the Greeks as revolutionary rationalists is explained, on the one hand, by their reckless criticism of contemporary social institutions and their cynical skepticism in political matters, and, on the other, by the high esteem in which their opponents held the laws and the polis, or city-state.
Their laws were the pride of the citizens of the Greek polis, and the Sophists were mostly foreigners. Heraclitus had looked upon the laws as equal in worth to the walls of the city. The philosophers spoke of the nomoi, or laws, with the greatest respect: the peoples who had no polis were to them barbarians. Hence it happened, too, that Socrates, despite his distinction between what is naturally right and legally right, pronounced the laws of Athens to be “right” without qualification. The citizens, consequently, were under obligation to obey them, even as he also obeyed them to the bitter end. For Plato likewise the laws of Athens were for the most part something inviolable. He regarded the social order founded upon them as good, even if capable of improvement; never did he term it bad. Therefore to these aristocrats in political outlook as well as in thought, the social criticism of the Sophists necessarily passed not only for an attack upon the foundations of a particular order of a particular polis, but also for a malicious assault upon the right order of the polis itself.
Moreover, in point of fact the Sophists had much in common with the revolutionary natural-law ideas of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, especially with Rousseau’s doctrine and its reckless criticism of existing society. In the case of the conservative natural law (if one wishes to speak of a political tendency) the distinction between natural and positive law served to justify and improve the existing positive law. It was, however, the tendency, an avowedly political tendency, of the natural-law concept of the Sophists to point out, by contrasting the current positive law with what is right by nature, not merely the accidental need for reform of the laws but the substantial wrongness of the laws. To the Sophists the laws were not venerable because of tradition Edition: current; Page: or by reason of having stood the actual test of life in the city-state: they were artificial constructs and served the interests of the powerful (Thrasymachus). Thus the laws possessed no inherent value, for only what is right by nature can have such value, and to this the Sophists were continually appealing. They did not deny, therefore, the form of the natural law and of what is moral by nature. They merely brought out the sharp contrast between the prevailing order of the city-state and the natural law as they preached it, and they ridiculed Socrates who looked upon the laws of Athens as purely and simply “just.” Callicles, who was the first to advance the thesis that might makes right, wished thereby to give expression to a fact which he was criticizing. This was that the ruling classes, while they declared their laws, i.e., those which worked to their advantage, to be naturally just, were misusing the idea of truly natural justice, and were desirous only of subjecting the people to their class interests.
By contrasting, in the light of their social criticism, what is naturally right with what is legally right, the Sophists attained at this early date to the notion of the rights of man and to the idea of mankind. The unwritten laws, said Hippias, are eternal and unalterable: they spring from a higher source than the decrees of men. To Hippias’ way of thinking, all men are by nature relatives and fellow citizens, even if they are not such in the eyes of the law. Therewith the distinction between Greeks and barbarians, fundamental for Greek cultural consciousness, vanished into thin air. “God made all men free; nature has made no man a slave” (Alcidamas). The whole ethical and legal foundation was thereby taken away from slavery, which was in turn the very basis of the Greek social and economic system. Nevertheless Plato held fast to the institution of slavery, and Aristotle was ever striving to justify it by means of his theory that certain men are slaves by nature.
The great masters of Greece, Plato and Aristotle, also directed their Edition: current; Page:  attacks at the Sophists and their destructive criticism. Plato and Aristotle were chiefly, though not in the same degree, concerned with goodness and with its realization in the state. Their interest, however, did not center in the individual. It is quite common, rather, to speak of both as leaning toward state socialism or totalitarianism. For them, then, in accordance with the idea of order, the first and fundamental aim of justice is not freedom for its own sake, but order. Freedom is aimed at only so far as it realizes order. For this reason the law occupied the foreground of their thought. They were at great pains to discover and to establish the ethical basis of the laws; not like the Sophists, however, in the interest of freedom from the laws. The state and its order as the sphere of morality, as the realization of all virtue, engaged their attention. This explains their preoccupation with the best form of state or government, in which the individual, whom the Sophists made so much of, is swallowed up. If we should think of the natural law in terms of its long accepted identification with socio-philosophical individualism, there would really be little room for the idea of the natural law in Plato or even in Aristotle.
The concept of natural law has taken several forms. The idea began with the ancient Greeks conception of a universal governed in every particular by an eternal, immutable law and in their distinction between what is just by nature and just by convention. Stocism provided the most complete classical formulation of natural law. The Stoics argued that the universe is governed by reason, or rational principle; they further argued that all humans have reason within them and can therefore know and obey its law. Because human beings have the faculty of choice (a free will), they will not necessarily obey the law; if they act in accordance with reason, however, they will be "following nature." Christian philosophers readily adapted Stoic natural law theory, identifying natural law with the law of God. For Thomas Aquinas, natural law is that part of the eternal law of God ("the reason of divine wisdom") which is knowable by human beings by means of their powers of reason. Human, or positive, law is the application of natural law to particular social circumstances. Like the Stoics, Aquinas believed that a positive law that violates natural law is not true law. With the secularization of society resulting from the Renaissance and Reformation, natural law theory found a new basis in human reason. The 17th-century Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius believed that humans by nature are not only reasonable but social. Thus the rules that are "natural" to them -- those dictated by reason alone -- are those which enable them to live in harmony with one another. From this argument, by the way, Grotius developed the first comprehensive theory of international law. Natural law theory eventually gave rise to a concept of "natural rights." John Locke argued that human beings in the state of nature are free and equal, yet insecure in their freedom. When they enter society they surrender only such rights as are necessary for their security and for the common good. Each individual retains fundamental prerogatives drawn from natural law relating to the integrity of person and property (natural rights). This natural rights theory provided a philosophical basis for both the American and French revolutions. Thomas Jefferson used the natural law theory to justify his trinity of "inalienable rights" which were stated in the United States Declaration of Independence. During the 19th century natural law theory lost influence as utilitarianism and Bentham’s, positivism, materialism, and the historical school of jurisprudence became dominant. In the 20th century, however, natural law theory has received new attention, partly in reaction to the rise of totalitarianism and an increased interest in human rights throughout the world. With this contemporary interest in mind, let's now turn to our attention to the natural law theory as understood by the tradition of Classical Realism. In its simplest definition, natural law is that "unwritten law" that is more or less the same for everyone everywhere. To be more exact, natural law is the concept of a body of moral principles that is common to all humankind and, as generally posited, is recognizable by human reason alone.
Natural Law – Its Meaning and Definition
There is no unanimity about the definition and exact meaning of natural law and the term ‘natural law theory’ has been interpreted differently at different times depending on the needs of the developing legal thought. But the greatest attribute of the natural law theory is its adaptability to meet new challenges of the transient society.
The exponents of natural law philosophy conceive that it is a law which is inherent in the natural of man and is independent of convention, legislation or any other institutional devices.
Dias and Hughes describe natural law as a law which derives is validity from its own inherent values, differentiated by its living and organic properties, from the law promulgated in advance by the State or its agencies.
According to Cohen, natural law is not a body of actual enacted or interpreted law enforced by courts, it is in fact a way of looking at things and a humanistic approach of Judges and jurists.it embodies within it a host of ideals such as morality, justice reason, good conduct, freedom, equality, liberty, ethics and so on.
From the jurisprudential point of view, natural law means those rules and principles which are supposed to have originated from some supreme source other than any political or wordly authority. Some thinkers believes that these rules have a divine origin, some find their source in nature while others hold that they are the product of reason. Even the modern sociological jurists have sought recourse to natural law to support their sociological ideology and the concept of law as a means to reconcile the conflicting interest of individuals in the society.
Basic Tent of Natural Law Theory
1. Law is related to justice, reason, human nature and ethics.
2. Rules of human conduct emanate form a supreme authority and are binding on all men everywhere.
3. Natural law is opposed to written law, the former is wise, the letter is arbitrary.
4. Nature is an order of things. It demands equality for all men.
5. Rules of law can be studied on the basis of a priori method, i.e., to accept a thing without an equity or observation.
Main Characteristic of Natural Law
The phrases ‘natural law’ has a flexible meaning. It has been interpreted to mean different things in course of its evolutionary history. However, it has generally been considered as an ideal source of law with invariant contents. The chief characteristics features of natural law may be briefly stated as follows ;-
1. It is basically a priori method different from empirical method, the former, accepts things or conclusions in relation to a subject as they are without any need or enquiry or observation while empirical or posteriori approach tries to find out the cause and reason in relation to the subject – matter.
2. It symbolizes physical law of nature based on moral ideals which has universal applicability at all places and times.
3. It has often been used either to defend a change or to maintain status quo according to needs and requirement of the time. For example, Locke used natural law as an instrument of change but Hobbes used it to maintain status quo in the society.
4. The concept of ‘rule of law’ in England and India and ‘due process’ in USA are essentially based on natural law philosophy.
Three basic feature of Natural Law
1. A NL view of morality holds that there are certain fundamental principles of right and wrong that bind human beings of every nationality. An example might be the principle that it is wrong to destroy innocent human life.
2. A NL view of morality holds that these fundamental principles are based on our human nature: we human beings are made in such a way that we cannot help but value the goods these principles protect.
3. A NL view of morality holds that all human beings are aware of these fundamental moral principles because all normal adults come to know them through the use of their natural reasoning abilities.
Natural Law in Greek Period
Systematic and technical study of Greek jurisprudence in his Academy. Isaeus was the first jurist of Greece in the fourth century; Aristotle and Theophrastus were the greatest jurists of Greece, since they were the first to write an Esprit des Lois and to compare divers legislations and constitutions. Although it is difficult to talk about the spirit of Greek Law, since Greek jurisprudence and court practice underwent only a slight development from Solon to Ar'stotle, yet the conception of law is originally Greek and is the result of a long process of thought. The Greeks used several words for law ONE is a metaphor belonging to geometry; it means that which is right, the right line, rectum, regula, as in orthopaedics; there is no equivalent in Greek to the Latin jus, that which unites or binds men, jungere, jugum, conjugium. TWO means law made by reason and based upon reason, in opposition to fatality or Destiny; it means also relation, principle or formula. THREE means, which does not exist in Homer and is first found only in the seventh century poet Hesiod, means till the second part of the fifth century the old and traditional custom; it means also the habit resulting from the necessity of conforming to existing conditions, that is to say the political and social environment as well as the psychological dispositions that go with the existing conditions; FOUR suggests the idea of sharing, of division, separation, equal parts; it is used for law, justice, statute. FIFTH word is the abstract and absolute right or justice; SIXTH is a part of it in the same way as lex is a part of jus;
Natural Law Institute Proceedings
It shows the way towards an aim, as can be seen in the Latin words: dicere, digitur, indicare, judicare. And natural law is rightly called by Aristotle: as justice recognized and admitted without any formal or conventional declaration, resulting from the nature of men and based upon the nature of our being. The Greeks had a peculiar conception of law. To us, the word suggests a court and a judge, a set of technical rules or regulations which are accumulated, revised and understood by specialists especially. The Greeks did not regard the law exactly in the same way, since their genius was rather metaphysical. They were inclined to consider the law as something absolute, permanent, which it was not a good thing to change, because they thought that law, like poetry, was of divine origin; although Greek laws were changed and revised at times, yet the Greeks were inclined to regard the law as sovereign. Socrates is not speaking metaphorically when he declares himself the slave of the law, in the Crito, where he converses with the Laws and admits the absolute sovereignty of the law.
To the Greeks law stood over the society; it was the binding force of the city, it was born with the city itself, it was the force that brought and held the city together. The Greek city was an ethical society, originally formed to secure justice to all; it is essentially an educational institution, the city itself being the organ of education for the citizens. The keyword is education; Plato's Republic contains the ideal curriculum of secondary education, the Laws present the ideal curriculum of university.
The expression "natural law" is ambiguous, confusing and misleading, not to the Greeks who believed in city education and in generation, but to us who have a two thousand year old heritage of Christianity, for the expression "natural law" has today a definite Christian connotation; it has none, of course, in pagan Greece, where natural law is considered as a thing of human reason alone. Moreover, the word law suggests nowadays something fixed, laid, proclaimed, written; the word natural connected with law suggests something peculiar to human nature. On the other hand, natural law is unwritten, and, as such, cannot always be defined and grasped easily; it is universal, all men have a natural, infallible and practical knowledge of it; man must do good and avoid evil; he who sins should be punished; man must preserve his own being. These precepts are immanent in human nature, they are part of our nature, they are the very expression of the universal notion of justice; they are implanted in us, we would not be what we are without them.
ANCIENT PERIOD: The story of natural law begins with the philosophers of ancient Greece and its true meaning is still a matter of controversy today. The most diverse elements are gathered under the same lable – Greek Philosophy and Medieval Rationalism.
The Greeks traditionally regarded law as being closely related both to justice and ethics. The contact between nature and institution is the most characteristic work of Greek enlightenment in the formation of conceptions. If there is anything universally valid, it is that which is valid by nature for all men without distinction of people and time. What nature determines is justly authorized.
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. My research through this seminar deals with its usages separately rather than attempt to unify them into a single theory.
Plato (437 – 347 B.C)
Although Plato does not have an explicit theory of natural law (he almost never uses 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. At 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 Republic, the ideal community is, "...a city which would be established in accordance with nature." Here he emphasized the need for perfect division of labour and held. “each man ought to do his work to which he is called upon by his capacities.
Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C)
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 a disputed question. 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 them more literally. Aristotle notes that natural justice is a species of political justice, viz. 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.
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.
"Not of to-day or yesterday it is, But lives eternal: none can date its birth."
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 theoretical paternity of the natural law tradition is consequently disputed.
Socrates (470 – 399 B.C)
The name of Socrates occupies a prominent place among the Stoic philosophers of the ancient time. He was a great admirer of truth and moral values. He argued that like natural physical law, there is a natural moral law. It is because of the ‘human insight’ that a man has the capacity to distinguish between good and bad is able to appreciate the moral values. Thus according to Socrates, virtue is knowledge’ and whatever is not virtuous is sin’. To him, justice may be of two kinds, namely, (1) natural justice; and (2) legal justice. The rules of natural justice are uniformly applicable to all the places but the notion of legal justice may differ from place to place depending upon the existing with time and place. The reasonability of a particular law is judged by human insight and only those laws would be deemed proper which are in accordance with the principles of law of nature and are supported by human reasoning. Thus natural law is a specie of law which and times. However, Socrates did not deny the authority of the positive law but he pleaded for the necessity of natural law for security and stability of the community.
Criticisms of natural law theory
1. Rejection of the teleological view of nature for a mechanistic, post-Darwinian view
2. Suppose that I do have a purpose set by God or nature. By what logic does it follow that I am ethically required to act in accord with that purpose?
3. The notion that human beings have a function is a degrading view: is our moral status simply to be a matter of our having functions or purposes in the way that hammers and other instruments do?
4. It is always an open question what morally ought to be done given any statement of what is naturally done or factually the case. To think otherwise is to commit the naturalistic fallacy.
5. Principles of natural law are often useless: Aquinas’ example of “Do good and avoid evil.”
6. Ought we to question the connection between law and morality?
From these considerations it follows that natural law is far from being a purely academic speculation, just good enough for people with leisure to brood over; it is fundamental even in practical life. It follows also that the concept of natural law has had a very strange destiny in Greece. If we recall the sayings of Homer and Hesiod, Theogenis and Sophocles, Xenophon and Plato, we shall remember that, in the minds of these writers, natural law is something divine and universal; it is a gift of the gods, like justice and poetry; it is to be found everywhere in the world, because it is based on reason, which is proper to man, it is immanent in human nature. For Pythagoras and Heraclitus, the principles of justice, upon which natural law is based, are to be found in equality and in insight, in the law of retaliation and in the law of reason; justice is harmony and equilibrium, man is the center of the cosmos. For Plato, justice is a spirit, a habit of life that animates man's action; the inner sense of justice, which is felt by the conscience, is something much higher in spiritual truth and content than the law of the State; natural law is eternal, like the gods who have given it to mankind. With Aristotle, natural law is one, divine, universal with the Stoics, it is human, universal, as manifold as the individuals themselves.
Strange destiny indeed is that of the natural law, for it was first called divine and then, in the course of centuries, became human. This destiny is quite as strange as that of Fire, which was too, divine in its origin, gave birth to love and kept unity as long as it was in the hands of the gods; placed in the hands of Prometheus, it became the source of the arts and of the inventions, the very principle of division on earth. There is, however, a much more tragic and strange destiny than that: it is the destiny of men in the world. The Greeks centered their interest on man especially. Their concept of natural law was born of their study of man. It is one of their greatest contributions to the world's culture and civilization. It is a new idea, which is still alive today; and the Greeks had the genius of coining words for this new idea. Thanks to natural law, there is something humane and personal in Greek law, there is a soul, a spirit in it. There is even too much poetry in natural law not to be divine. The Greek saw it and expressed it, for they were poets, they looked at the world in awe, like children. That is why everything they have invented still looks so fresh; their literature and their philosophy seem to be less old than yesterday's newspapers; one never tires of studying Greek, as one never tires of looking at the sun on the Aegean sea. Natural law is, in fact, the expression of the divine law in man. As long as man respects the divine in himself, he lives in peace, for the divine, which is measure and order, is peace. Socrates used to smile, when looking at the Parthenon, for the Parthenon was for him the symbol of order and harmony, of measure and proportion; it may also be regarded as the symbol of natural law for the Greeks of old.
# Blackstone: Commentaries, Introduction, p 39
# Paranjape, N. V., Studies in Jurisprudence Legal Theory, Central Law Agency, Ed. 2004, p 91
# Friedmann, W., Legal Theory, 5th Ed. (2008), p 43 – 45
# Lloyed: Introduction to Jurisprudence, p 79 – 81
# Paranjape, N. V., Studies in Jurisprudence Legal Theory, Central Law Agency, Ed. 2004,p 14
# Paranjape, N. V., Studies in Jurisprudence Legal Theory, Central Law Agency, Ed. 2004 at p 95
# http://The Natural Law_ A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy - Online Library of Liberty.html accessed on 19th October, 2015 at 3:15 pm
# The State in Catholic Thought: A Treatise in Political Philosophy (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1945), p. 48 (hereafter abbreviated SCT)
# SCT, p. 212. For a recent study of the Nazi legal system, see Ingo Müller, Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, trans. D. L. Schneider (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991).
# Supranote 8
# Supranote 6
# SCT, p 718
# Ibid, at p 110
# http://Jurisprudence - Natural Law.html accessed on 19th October, 2015 at 2:45 pm
# Dias R.W.M: Jurisprudence, p 65
# Supranote 6, at p 91
# Cohen & Cohen: Readings in Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy, (1951), p 660
# Supranote 6
# Aggarwal Nomita, Jurisprudence Legal Theory, Central Law Publication, 1st Ed. (1997), p 254
# Supranote 6