Academic Natures

Hugh White

in Nature, Sex, and Goodness in a Medieval Literary Tradition

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780198187301
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191674693 | DOI:
Academic Natures

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This chapter considers how the natural has been treated in a broad range of academic writing from antiquity to the 15th century. The chapter is organized into several sections. ‘The Goodness of the Natural’ reviews ways in which the natural is understood to be good and to promote virtue in human beings. This leads into a section on the Natural Law, which provides moral guidance available in virtue of their rationality to all human beings. ‘Human Nature, Animal Nature, and Ulpian’ and ‘Nature, Sex, and the Discriminating of Natures’ discuss Ulpian's definition of nature and the way it was dealt with by scholastic commentators. The final section, ‘Natural as Moral Middle Term’, points how sinning ‘naturally’ in the sexual sphere was better than sinning against nature.

Keywords: Natural Law; Ulpian; sexuality; animal nature; human nature

Chapter.  17389 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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