Natural Law and Natural Rights

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Apr 7, 2011 - Law - 512 pages
4 Reviews
First published in 1980, Natural Law and Natural Rights is widely heralded as a seminal contribution to the philosophy of law, and an authoritative restatement of natural law doctrine. It has offered generations of students and other readers a thorough grounding in the central issues of legal, moral, and political philosophy from Finnis's distinctive perspective. This new edition includes a substantial postscript by the author, in which he responds to thirty years ofdiscussion, criticism and further work in the field to develop and refine the original theory.The book closely integrates the philosophy of law with ethics, social theory and political philosophy. The author develops a sustained and substantive argument; it is not a review of other people's arguments but makes frequent illustrative and critical reference to classical, modern, and contemporary writers in ethics, social and political theory, and jurisprudence.The preliminary First Part reviews a century of analytical jurisprudence to illustrate the dependence of every descriptive social science upon evaluations by the theorist. A fully critical basis for such evaluations is a theory of natural law. Standard contemporary objections to natural law theory are reviewed and shown to rest on serious misunderstandings.The Second Part develops in ten carefully structured chapters an account of: basic human goods and basic requirements of practical reasonableness, community and 'the common good'; justice; the logical structure of rights-talk; the bases of human rights, their specification and their limits; authority, and the formation of authoritative rules by non-authoritative persons and procedures; law, the Rule of Law, and the derivation of laws from the principles of practical reasonableness; the complexrelation between legal and moral obligation; and the practical and theoretical problems created by unjust laws.A final Part develops a vigorous argument about the relation between 'natural law', 'natural theology' and 'revelation' - between moral concern and other ultimate questions.

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Review: Natural Law and Natural Rights (Clarendon Law Series)

User Review  - Jacob Stubbs - Goodreads

Finnis provides a fascinatingly coherent and ambitious (and intense!) account of the natural law. Finnis' account seemingly separates the theological good from the moral good in his project. Of course ... Read full review

Review: Natural Law and Natural Rights (Clarendon Law Series)

User Review  - Adam - Goodreads

He tries, but he can't write and his theory is alternately nonsensical and maddening. When will people just give up on this bullshit approach? Read full review

About the author (2011)

John Finnis is Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of University College. He is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.

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