How Law’s Claims Relate to Law’s Aims
Chapter 7: Critical natural law
The core commitment of natural law theories is that the basic principles of morals and legislation are objective, accessible to reason and based on human nature. The Objective Standard against which laws are to be measured may be conventional or it may be iconoclastic. Bentham’s Utilitarianism was a natural law theory just as much as Blackstone’s was. Natural law theories can be critical theories, critiquing the injustice of rulers in the name of a higher standard of justice. When a natural law theory is conventional, it reveals that a society’s conceptions of deep justice have become so settled that they have been mistaken for true justice. Human rights theories are a modern form of natural law, asserting that there are universal standards of justice which apply across all cultures. The best explanation for the existence of universal standards of justice is a theistic one.
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