Hegel Essay Natural Law

Hegel Essay Natural Law-1
For it is an implication of any doctrine of natural law or natural right that the marks and standards of a natural justice are such as to make it recognizable, even in the face of whatever the prevailing conventional or customary justice may affirm to the contrary.Indeed, in this sense natural laws are held to be evidenced by nature itself, and to be there, as it were, right in the facts for all to see, if we have but eyes to see, and are not blinded by habit or by convention or by social conditioning or whatever.Or why does the football coach insist that a tackle be made in one way rather than another?

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Still, it is one thing to say that in any natural law doctrine, ethical and political standards are objectively grounded, or that they literally have a status as laws of nature, and thus are knowable and rationally determinable.

It is yet another thing to understand just how such natural norms and standards may thus come to be known, to say nothing of how they can have an actual ontological status in reality.

Professor Crowe has even remarked that "the natural law, as an idea, is almost as old as philosophy itself." [1] He thinks he can find the origins of a natural law doctrine even among the pre-Socratics.

Following this, it received at the hands of the Sophists what appeared to be, if not a death-blow, then certainly a serious set-back.

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?

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.

In this country, Catholic institutions of higher learning, especially law schools, pressed for the teaching of so-called natural law along with positive law; and thinkers of the stature of Jacques Maritain enjoyed vogue and influence alike in their efforts to awaken both Europeans and Americans to the pressing demands of human rights, particularly in the light of the ruthless suppression and perversion of those rights at the hands of the Nazis.

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.


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