What is natural law?
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What Does natural law Mean
The concept of natural law has two great uses. It can refer to the opinion that emanates from reason and rights that are based on human nature itself or the physical norm that establishes the behavior of bodies under certain conditions.
It is known as natural right to those principles based on the nature of the human being and that are usually shared by almost all members of society. Natural laws, in this sense, are linked to the doctrine known as natural law .
Natural laws precede written law.
The human being and natural law
For natural law , there is a natural right that all people have due to the fact that they belong to the human species. This means that this right is associated with human nature, is universal and corresponds to natural laws.
Natural laws, in this framework, are precedents, superior to and independent of written law, positive law and customary law. According to this theory, no one can violate these laws without committing a fault.
Plato, Aristotle and classical natural law
As well as many other concepts that today are part of our universal cultural baggage , natural law has its origin in the work of the Greek philosopher Plato , for which we must move to the fourth century BC. C., in particular to his work entitled Republic and Laws .
In "Republic and Laws", Plato reflects on natural law.
Aristotle , another of the most remembered Greek philosophers in history, spoke of natural law in his Nicomachean Ethics , published in the same century as Republic and Laws . Throughout this treatise on the ethics and morals of Western philosophy, Aristotle makes a distinction between conventional (that is, legal) and natural justice.
According to the ideas of Aristotle, the force of natural justice is always the same, regardless of what the human being thinks. In the same way, it ensures that natural law is not immutable, since in human nature itself there are changes that respond to principles whose development is internal.
Aristotle also believed in the idea that the human being is characterized by being the only rational organism on the planet, something that many maintain even today to the detriment of the rest of the animal species.
In his work entitled Politics , he determines that reasoning is one of the natural laws, and that it serves to establish precepts such as freedom itself (it should be clarified that he believed in the division between superior and inferior men, and therefore, also that slavery was justified by the nature of each).
Natural law according to Stoicism
The philosophical school called Stoicism , founded by Zenón de Citio at the end of the 4th century BC. C., took up this aspect of rationality although with a different point of view.
For the Stoics, human nature is located in the natural order and its reason is a spark that comes from the creative fire thanks to which the cosmos can be ordered and unified. Natural law is reason itself, which the gods themselves implanted in us. It should be clarified that by natural law they understood only healthy reason and not that which is perverted in the service of other interests.
The concept in physics
A natural law, on the other hand, is a physical principle that is established from concrete facts and empirical evidence . When this principle can be applied to a defined set of phenomena and the concretion of its statement is certified under specific conditions, it can be spoken of natural law.
These natural laws, in short, are conclusions that arise from scientific tests and observations repeated over time and already accepted by the scientific community. Thus, through the postulation of natural laws, reality and everything that surrounds us is described.