Natural Law and Positive Law

Robert P. George

in The Autonomy of Law

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267904
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683404 | DOI:
Natural Law and Positive Law

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Natural Law is said to have three sets of principles: a set of principles that direct human choice and action toward intelligible purposes; another set of intermediate moral principles that specify the most basic principles of morality by directing choice and action that is driven by a will toward integral human fulfilment; and finally, a set of fully specific moral norms that prescribes specific possible choices to be required or forbidden. This chapter talks about Natural Law, and how it shapes human choice and action. Intrinsic human good is also identified and is specified as the end that is to be pursued, promoted and protected, as it is essential to human flourishing. In choosing to act in a certain way, acting persons often, if not always, rely on doing what comes naturally. As acting persons, people make natural laws effective by bringing principles of Natural Law into practical deliberation and judgement in situations of morally significant choice. It is seldom taken into account, but this process of acting upon reasons that constitute the most basic principles of Natural Law, is done effortlessly. The Common Good and how communities, like individuals, make decisions is also discussed.

Keywords: Natural Law; choice; Common Good; human good; moral principles; moral norms

Chapter.  5385 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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