Chapter 16: Virtue and natural law
Amalia Amaya’s chapter discusses the connections between natural law theory and virtue. Amaya notes that natural law views have received relatively little emphasis in the recent resurgence of virtue theory in ethics and jurisprudence. Contemporary natural theories have likewise given scant attention to the virtues. This mutual neglect is surprising, Amaya argues, given the commonalities between the two approaches. Virtue jurisprudence, like contemporary natural law theories, focuses on the end of human flourishing and takes the values that law seeks to be plural and incommensurable. The classical natural law theories of Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics likewise gave a central place to virtuous dispositions, although this aspect has been neglected in the leading contemporary theories. Amaya’s chapter ends with a plea for rapprochement between natural law and the virtues. Virtue has the potential to play a constitutive, epistemic, or corrective role within the natural law outlook. The chapter ends by highlighting several ways in which contemporary work from both perspectives can benefit from engaging with the other.
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