Law in Nature, Nature in Law

in What Did the Romans Know?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780226471143
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226471150 | DOI:
Law in Nature, Nature in Law

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This chapter explores more closely at the question of the relationships between law and nature in antiquity, arguing that in fact a strong distinction between the two is far from universal, and that law and nature come together very comfortably and very deeply in several different ways in ancient sources, Greek and Roman alike. The phrase laws of nature is explained. There has been little hesitation among Latin authors in using the idea of law to characterize strict regularity in nature. John Milton's point about the relations between divinity and laws of nature was in keeping with recent approaches in the history of the sciences that distinguish the crucial roles of theology in the history of science generally. The theology and eschatology of Isaac Newton are examined. Rene Descartes established the knowledge of the unchangeability of the laws of nature in the eternal unchangingness of God.

Keywords: law; nature; laws of nature; John Milton; divinity; theology; eschatology; Isaac Newton; Rene Descartes; God

Chapter.  12344 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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