Natural law

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Natural law is a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society.


  • It is true that when medieval writers spoke of natural law as being discoverable by reason, they meant that the best human reasoning could discover it, and not, of course, that the results to which any and every individual's reasoning led him was natural law.
    • J.L. Brierly, The Law of Nations, 20-21 (5th ed. 1955)
  • When most people speak of natural law, what they have in mind is the contention that morality can be derived from human nature. If human beings are rational animals of such-and-such a sort, then the moral virtues are...(filling in the blanks is the difficult part).
  • [T]he very existence of a natural law discoverable by reason is a potentially powerful threat to the status quo and a standing reproach to the reign of blindly traditional custom or the arbitrary will of the State apparatus.
  • [W]hether something falls within the domain of ‘‘law’’ is, for a natural lawyer, at least partially or nominally determined by reference to an extra-legal standard or norm.

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