Natural law and justice

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Harvard University Press, Dec 31, 1987 - Law - 320 pages
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"Human beings are a part of nature and apart from it." The argument of Natural Law and Justice is that the philosophy of natural law and contemporary theories about the nature of justice are both efforts to make sense of the fundamental paradox of human experience: individual freedom and responsibility in a causally determined universe.

Professor Weinreb restores the original understanding of natural law as a philosophy about the place of humankind in nature. He traces the natural law tradition from its origins in Greek speculation through its classic Christian statement by Thomas Aquinas. He goes on to show how the social contract theorists adapted the idea of natural law to provide for political obligation in civil society and how the idea was transformed in Kant's account of human freedom. He brings the historical narrative down to the present with a discussion of the contemporary debate between natural law and legal positivism, including particularly the natural law theories of Finnis, Richards, and Dworkin.

Professor Weinreb then adopts the approach of modern political philosophy to develop the idea of justice as a union of the distinct ideas of desert and entitlement. He shows liberty and equality to be the political analogues of desert and entitlement and both pairs to be the normative equivalents of freedom and cause. In this part of the book, Weinreb considers the theories of justice of Rawls and Nozick as well as the communitarian theory of Maclntyre and Sandel.

The conclusion brings the debates about natural law and justice together, as parallel efforts to understand the human condition. This original contribution to legal philosophy will be especially appreciated by scholars, teachers, and students in the fields of political philosophy, legal philosophy, and the law generally.

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Contents

Kosmos
15
The Law of Nature
43
The Law of the State
67
Copyright

6 other sections not shown

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About the author (1987)

Lloyd L. Weinreb is a Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author of Natural Law and Justice and Oedipus at Fenway Park: What Rights Are and Why There Are Any.

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