A Critical Study of Empiricists’ Theories of Natural Law in Modern Period
: Geneology of philosophical schools and Ideas
Mohammad Hosein Talebi
(Associate Professor, Political Science Department, Research Institute of Hawzah and University, Qom, Iran)
The doctrine of “natural law” is one of the oldest and most famous and efficient subjects of practical wisdom in Western philosophy. This theorem is employed in various fields of human sciences such as philosophy, anthropology, ethics, law, political science, education, and sociology. Unlike Muslim philosophers, Western thinkers have provided several theories about this doctrine. According to their most famous interpretation, natural law is a system of law based on the orders of practical wisdom regarding the behaviors of human beings in order to attain happiness. The purpose of this study is to investigate modern empiricists’ philosophy concerning the natural law and explain the defects of their views following a rational and critical approach and based on philosophical arguments. The interpretation of the thinkers of the modern period (17th and 18th centuries), such as Thomas Hobbes and John Lock, of the rational doctrine of the natural law is an empiricist one. According to this interpretation, since the spirit of positivism dominated the thoughts of empiricists, the immateriality of the human soul was generally unacceptable to them. They only observed the human nature in order to explain the natural law and did not go beyond the satisfaction of human natural and material desires. They neglected the social interests of human being while the natural law always reinforces the orders of practical intellect for the development and progress of the humankind in all material and spiritual, personal and communal, and social affairs. The outcome of their approach to the natural law only directs people towards moral and material joys and delights and closes their eyes to everything that pertains to their everlasting and spiritual life in the hereafter. Therefore, the right to life and freedom, which is one of the concomitants of the natural law in the empiricism of modern Western civilization, mainly targets only material life and freedom. This approach results in ignoring a large part of the world of reality, that is, metaphysical affairs. This philosophy paved the context for the vast dominance of positivism over all aspects of human life in the 19th century and granted an empirical nature to all sciences. As a result, rational discussions, particularly those in relation to the natural law remained dormant for more than a whole century.
ابنسینا (1375) الاشارات و التنبیهات، الجزءالثانی: فی علم الطبیعه، قم: نشر البلاغه.
طالبي، محمدحسين (1389) «بازخواني انتقادي آموزة قانون طبيعي در حکمت عملي يونان باستان»، معرفت فلسفی، شمارة30، ص 201ـ 169.
طوسي، نصیرالدین محمد (1375) شرح الاشارات و التنبیهات، الجزءالثانی: فی علم الطبیعه، قم: نشر البلاغه.
Aquinas, T. (1966). Summa Theologiae. Vol. 28: Law and Political Theory. trans. T. Gilby. London: Blackfriars.
Aristotle (1956). Metaphysics. trans. J. Warrington. London: Dent.
Aristotle (1962). Politics. trans. T. A. Singlair. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
Aristotle (1970). Physics (I, II). trans. W. Charlton. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Aristotle (1991). Rhetoric. trans. G. Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Aristotle (2002). Nicomachean Ethics. trans. C. Rowe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Arntz, O. P. (1965). Natural Law and Its History. Concilium 1, Vol. 5. pp.23-33.
Augustine, A. (1887). Reply to Faustus the Manichaean (Contra Faustum Manichaeum). in P. Schaff (ed.) and R. Stothert (trans.). A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Vol. IV: St. Augustine: The Writings Against the Manichaeans and Against the Donatists. New York: Christian Literature Company. pp.151-345.
Augustine, A. (1982). Eighty-Three Different Questions (De Diversis Quaestionibus LXXXIII). trans. D. Mosher. Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press.
Birch, A. (2007). The Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy. London: Routledge.
Bix, B. (1996). Natural Law Theory. D. Patterson (ed.). A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory. Oxford: Blackwell. pp.223-240.
Bonar, J. (1902). Natural Law. in J.M. Baldwin (ed.). Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology. London: Macmillan. Vol. 2, pp.133-134.
Chroust, A. H. (1944). The Philosophy of Law of St. Augustine. The Philosophical Review. Vol.53, No. 2. pp.195–202.
Cicero, M. T. (1998). The Republic and the Laws. trans. N. Rudd. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crowe, M. (1977). The Changing Profile of The Natural Law. The Hauge: Martinus Nijhoff.
D'Entreves, A. (1951). Natural Law, An Introduction to Legal Philosophy. New York: Hutchinson.
Fears, J. R. (2000). Natural Law: The Legacy of Greece and Rome. in E. McLean (ed.). Common Truths, New Perspectives on Natural Law. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books. pp.19-56.
Foriers, P. & Perelman, C. (1973). Law, Natural Law and Natural Rights. in W. Philip (ed.). Dictionary of the History of Ideas. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Vol. 3, pp.13-27.
Fortin, E. (1978). Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and the Problem of Natural Law. in B. Levy (ed.). Mediaevalia. Binghamton: State University of New York Press, Vol. 4, pp.179-208.
Grotius, H. (1922). On the Law of War and Peace [De Iure Belli ac Pacis]. trans. W. S. M. Knight. London: Peace Book.
Grotius, H. (1957). Prolegomena to the Law of War and Peace. trans. F. Kelsey. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.
Guthrie, W. K. C. (1950). The Greek Philosophers from Thales to Aristotle. London: Methuen.
Guthrie, W. K. C. (1962). A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Guthrie, W. K. C. (1971). The Sophists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Haakonssen, K. (2001). Natural Law. in L. Becker & C. Becker (eds.). Encyclopedia of Ethics. London: Routledge. Vol. 2, pp.1205-1512.
Hobbes, T. (1996). Leviathan. J. C. A. Gaskin (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jaffa, H. (1972). Aristotle. in L. Strauss & J. Cropsey (eds.). History of Political Philosophy. Chicago: Rand McNally. pp.64-129.
Jones, P. (1994). Rights. Houndmills and New York: Palgrave.
Justinian, F. (1975). The Institute. trans. J. A. C. Thomas. Cape Town: Juta.
Kahn, C. (1979). The Art and Thought of Heraclitus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kirk, G. S., Raven, J. E. & Schofield, M. (1957). The Pre-Socratic Philosophers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Locke, J. (1954). Essays on the Law of Nature. ed. W. Leyden. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Locke, J. (1960). Two Treatises of Government. ed. P. Laslett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Locke, J. (1998). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding . Hertfordshire: Wordsworth.
Matthews, G. (1998). Augustine. in Craig E. (ed.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Vol. 1, pp.541-459.
Melden, A. I. (1970). Appendix III: "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens". Human Rights. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing. pp.140-142; Appendix IV: "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". pp.143-149.
Milne, A. J. M. (1968). Freedom and Rights. New York: Humanities Press.
Morrow, G. (1960). Plato’s Cretan City: A Historical Interpretation of the Laws. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Romilly, J. (1992). The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens. trans. J. Lloyd. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Rommen, H. (1947). The Natural Law. Trans. T. Hanley. New York: Vail-Ballou Press.
Sinnige, T. G. (1968). Matter and Infinity in the Presocratic Schools and Plato. Assen: Van Gorcum.
Sophocles (1902). Oedipus Tyrannus. trans. R. Jebb. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sophocles (1998). Antigone. trans. M. Whitlock Blundell. Newburyport: Focus Publishing.
Stone, I. F. (1988). The Trial of Socrates. London: Jonathan Cape.
Troeltsch, E. (1931). The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches. trans. Olive Wyon. London: Macmillan.
Vitoria, F. (1991). Political Writings. A. Pagden & J. Lawence eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Waterfield, R. (2000). The First Philosophers: the Presocratics and Sophists. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Watson, G. (1971). “The Natural Law and Stoicism”, in Long A. A. ed., in Problems in Stoicism, London: Athlone Press, pp. 216-238.
Weinreb, L. (1987). Natural Law and Justice. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Wilbur, J. & Allen, H. (1979). The Worlds of the Early Greek Philosophers. New York: Prometheus.