Natural Law and Human Dignity

Front Cover
MIT Press, 1987 - Philosophy - 323 pages
0 Reviews

Ernst Bloch (1885-1977), one of the most original and influential of contemporary European thinkers and a founder of the Frankfurt School, has left his mark on a range of fields from philosophy and social theory to aesthetics and theology. Natural Law and Human Dignity, the first of his major works to appear in English is unique in its attempt to get beyond the usual oppositions between the natural law and social utopian traditions, providing basic insights on the question of human rights in a socialist society. Natural Law and Human Dignity is a sweeping yet synthetic work that critically reviews the great legal philosophies, from Plato to the present, in order to uncover and clarify the normative features of true socialism. Along the way it offers thoughtful reflections on topics as diverse as the abolition of poverty and degradation, the nature of the state, and the installation of freedom and dignity.Taking the idea of natural law as his guiding thread, Bloch argues that revolution and right, rather than being antagonistic, are fundamentally interconnected. With their emphasis on human dignity, the traditions of natural law have an irreplaceable contribution to make to the socialist vision of a more humane society. In his effort to wed the demands of law and right to the agenda of social revolution, Bloch offers a radical restructuring of our understanding of the social world. This rethinking of the fundamental principles of political philosophy is the product of a long personal and philosophical odyssey. Bloch lived as a writer in Munich, Bern, and Berlin until he was forced to emigrate to Czechoslovakia and then to the United States during World War 11. After the war he returned to East Germany, where he held a chair in philosophy at the University of Leipzig. He emigrated to the west as the Berlin Wall was being built (carrying the manuscript of this book under his arm), and he taught at the University of Tubingen until his death. Natural Law and Human Dignity is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

"
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Natural law and human dignity

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

An unconventional Marxist philosopher who left East Germany when the Berlin Wall was built, Bloch is perhaps closest to the Bernstein revisionist tradition which affirms a neo-Kantian ethic as the ... Read full review

Contents

Overly Used
1
The First Opponents of Institutions
7
Stoic Doctrines and Roman Law
17
The Relative Natural Law of Thomas Aquinas and of
25
Justice
36
Rationalized Natural Law
45
Rationalist Natural Law Its Relation to
53
Rousseaus Social Contract the American Declaration
61
GaeaThemis and Its Survival in the
110
The Death and the Semblance of Life of a Late
131
Liberty
153
The Marxist Distance to Right and Even to Natural
181
Subjective Objective Right Facultas Agendi Norma
209
Right and Morality in Their Separation Morality 229
234
Penal Law Tragedy and the Real Negation of Crime
244
The Origin of the State Public Law Arcana
266

On the Passion of Law within Positive Law Kohlhaus
76
Anselm Feuerbach Savigny The Fate of Rational
85
Bachofen GaeaThemis and Natural Law
97
Christian Thomasius a German Scholar
281
Index
317
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1987)

Ernst Bloch ranks as a major German Marxist philosopher. Beginning his career as author and teacher during World War I, he moved in the orbit of Marxist thought during the 1920s. In 1933 he left Germany and eventually found his way to the United States, where he created his major work The Principle of Hope. After World War II, he settled in East Germany, where from 1948 to 1957 he was professor at the University of Leipzig. His work eventually aroused the hostility of the authorities, and in 1961 he was granted political asylum in West Germany. Bloch departed from orthodox Marxism by attending to the problem of intellectual culture and refraining from treating it merely as superstructure determined by the materialist elements of political economy. Emphasizing the role of hope-as an inner drive, or hunger, in human beings-for a possible ideal future order, Bloch's thought may be described as utopian, involving the realization of a religious community akin to the kingdom of God, where people are no longer exploited but are free. Bloch's style echoes recent expressionism and is also rich in mystical overtones of biblical origin. Bloch died in 1977.

Bibliographic information