Natural Law: The Modern Tradition

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This article focuses on recent works on natural law theory, particularly those that concentrate on discussing positive law. It opens up with a brief history and overview of natural law theories. The modern legal theorists who identify themselves with the natural law tradition seem to have objectives and approaches distinctly different from those classically associated with natural law. This article deals with two different types of natural law-natural law as moral/political theory and natural law as legal/social theory-as connected at a basic level. It discusses two lines of thought, natural law and natural rights, as interchangeable, or closely connected and reflects a modern perspective. The most important idea modern natural law theorists have brought to jurisprudence is that views of law that take into account law's moral aspirations offer a better understanding of social institution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743801
ISBN (Print)019927097X, 9780199270972
StatePublished - Jan 22 2004


  • Jurisprudence
  • Modern perspective
  • Natural law theory
  • Political theory
  • Social theory


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