Definitions for natural law

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word natural law

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

nat′ural law′(n.)

  1. a principle or body of laws considered as derived from nature, right reason, or religion and as ethically binding in human society.

Origin of natural law:

1350–1400

Princeton's WordNet

  1. law, natural law(noun)

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

Wiktionary

  1. natural law(Noun)

    An ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere.

Freebase

  1. Natural law

    Natural law, or the law of nature, is a system of law that is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature—both social and personal—and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it. Natural law is classically contrasted with the positive law of a given political community, society, or state, and thus serves as a standard by which to criticize said positive law. In legal theory, on the other hand, the interpretation of positive law requires some reference to natural law. On this understanding of natural law, natural law can be invoked to criticize judicial decisions about what the law says but not to criticize the best interpretation of the law itself. Some scholars use natural law synonymously with natural justice or natural right, while others distinguish between natural law and natural right. Although natural law is often conflated with common law, the two are distinct in that natural law is a view that certain rights or values are inherent in or universally cognizable by virtue of human reason or human nature, while common law is the legal tradition whereby certain rights or values are legally cognizable by virtue of judicial recognition or articulation. Natural law theories have, however, exercised a profound influence on the development of English common law, and have featured greatly in the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas, Francisco Suárez, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, John Locke, Francis Hutcheson, Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, and Emmerich de Vattel. Because of the intersection between natural law and natural rights, it has been cited as a component in the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Declarationism states that the founding of the United States is based on Natural law.

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