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Natural Law

What is 'Natural Law'

A set of rules inherent in human behavior and human reasoning that governs human conduct. Natural law is preexisting and is not created in courts by judges. Philosophers and theologians throughout history have differed in their interpretations of natural law, but in theory, natural law should be the same throughout time and across the world because it is based on human nature, not on culture or customs.


An example of natural law, as interpreted by Thomas Hobbes, is that judges should be impartial. Other major philosophers of natural law include Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Lysander Spooner.

Explaining 'Natural Law'

The opposite of natural law is "positive law" or "man-made law." Positive law may be based on natural law, but not the other way around. Positive or man-made laws include laws such as the speed at which individuals may drive on the highway and the age at which individuals may legally purchase and consume alcohol. While natural law typically applies to philosophy, it is also extensively used in theoretical economics.


Further Reading


The law, economics and psychology of subprime mortgage contracts
heinonline.org [PDF]
… 5. Economics – Religious aspects – Islam … Fatwa and Islamic Finance 32 2.3 Arbitraging Classical Jurisprudence 35 Shari'a-Arbitraging Classical Property Law 36 Arbitraging … Prohibition of Riba 52 3.2 The Prohibition of Gharar 58 Definition of Gharar 59 Economic Substance of …

Trends in park tourism: Economics, finance and managementTrends in park tourism: Economics, finance and management
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… 5. Economics – Religious aspects – Islam … Fatwa and Islamic Finance 32 2.3 Arbitraging Classical Jurisprudence 35 Shari'a-Arbitraging Classical Property Law 36 Arbitraging … Prohibition of Riba 52 3.2 The Prohibition of Gharar 58 Definition of Gharar 59 Economic Substance of …

Comparing the publication process in accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, psychology, and the natural sciencesComparing the publication process in accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, psychology, and the natural sciences
meridian.allenpress.com [PDF]
… 5. Economics – Religious aspects – Islam … Fatwa and Islamic Finance 32 2.3 Arbitraging Classical Jurisprudence 35 Shari'a-Arbitraging Classical Property Law 36 Arbitraging … Prohibition of Riba 52 3.2 The Prohibition of Gharar 58 Definition of Gharar 59 Economic Substance of …



Q&A About Natural Law


What does natural law govern?

Human conduct.

What is Natural Law?

Natural law is a set of rules inherent in human behavior and reasoning that governs human conduct.

Is natural law created by judges or philosophers?

Natural law is not created by judges, but rather it preexists them. Philosophers and theologians throughout history have differed on their interpretations of natural law, but in theory, natural law should be the same throughout time and across the world because it is based on human nature, not on culture or customs. An example of natural law as interpreted by Thomas Hobbes would be that judges should be impartial in their decisions. Other major philosophers of natural law include Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Lysander Spooner. The opposite of natural laws are positive laws which are man-made laws such as the speed at which individuals may drive on the highway and the age at which individuals may legally purchase alcohol. While most people use "natural" to mean "good," Hobbes used it to mean something like "given." He thought that if there were no government then people would live without any rights or duties; they would live according to what he called "the state of nature." In this state there was no right or wrong; only might made right (or wrong). ""