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Aristotle and natural law by Tony Burns

By Tony Burns

Aristotle and average legislation lays out a brand new theoretical process which distinguishes among the notions of ''interpretation, '' ''appropriation, '' ''negotiation'' and ''reconstruction'' of the that means of texts and their part thoughts. those different types are then deployed in an exam of the position which the idea that of ordinary legislation is utilized by Aristotle in a couple of key texts. The booklet argues that Aristotle  Read more...

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Wollheim does not question whether it is possible to do this. Ht> simply assumes that it iJ possible, as the term 'natural law' or its linguistic equivalent, for example the Latin Lex nalumliJ, has 'bccn used ovcr thc ccnturics to dcsignatc a rcmarkably persistent doctrinc' (Wollheim, 1967: 405). Wollheim then gocs on to prcscnt his readers with what he claims is such a 'minimal characterization' of the concept of a natural law, or of the doctrine of nat11ral law, and of tlw features which are necessarily associated with each of its particular forms, no matter how much they rn ight difter in certain 'accidental' respects.

Crowc has pointccl out, it has 'always attractccl commcntators' (Crowe, 1977: 22). To eluciclate its meaning, however, is by no means an easy task. This is so for three reasons. In the first place, it is highly compressecl. herm Fthü:s (Strauss, 1971: 156). In the second place, it is ambiguous and therefore ohscure. Pierre Destree has claimed that this passage is, 'in the opinion of all contemporary commentators, one of the most obscure' in the history of philosophy (Destree, 2000: 221). And Crowe has rightly pointed out, not only that it leaves 'more 42 Aristotle aud Natural Law than one tantalizing question unanswered ', but also that 'where there is ambiguity commentators sometimes find what they wish to find' (Crowe, 1977: 25).

Lndeed, it could not possibly be a comprehensive i11terpretation if it is true that some of the contradictions with which it dcals arc not apparcnt but real. Justice and Political Jnstice One point of central imponance to note about this passage is that in itAristotle appears to refer to threedifferent types ofjustice. LTLKOV ÖLKULOV, /mlilikon dikaion), 'natural justice' (q>UOLKOV ÖLKmov, ph)·sikon dikaion), and 'legal' or 'comn1tional j ustice' (voµLKOV ÖLKmov, nomikon dikaion). This is unusual, in that most commcntators today who writc about these matters adopt the bipartite approach of the Stoic tradition.

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