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But by definition we have no control over supernatural entities or forces. Allowing science to appeal to untestable supernatural powers would make the scientist's task meaningless, undermine the discipline that allows science to make progress, and "would be as profoundly unsatisfying as the ancient Greek playwright's reliance upon the deus ex machina to extract his hero from a difficult predicament.

Naturalism of this sort says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural, which by this definition is beyond natural testing. As a practical consideration, the rejection of supernatural explanations would merely be pragmatic, thus it would nonetheless be possible, for an ontological supernaturalist to espouse and practice methodological naturalism.

For example, scientists may believe in God while practicing methodological naturalism in their scientific work. This position does not preclude knowledge that is somehow connected to the supernatural. Generally however, anything that can be scientifically examined and explained would not be supernatural, simply by definition. Quine describes naturalism as the position that there is no higher tribunal for truth than natural science itself.

In his view, there is no better method than the scientific method for judging the claims of science, and there is neither any need nor any place for a "first philosophy", such as abstract metaphysics or epistemology , that could stand behind and justify science or the scientific method.

Therefore, philosophy should feel free to make use of the findings of scientists in its own pursuit, while also feeling free to offer criticism when those claims are ungrounded, confused, or inconsistent. In Quine's view, philosophy is "continuous with" science and both are empirical.

Instead, it simply holds that science is the best way to explore the processes of the universe and that those processes are what modern science is striving to understand. However, this Quinean Replacement Naturalism finds relatively few supporters among philosophers. Karl Popper equated naturalism with inductive theory of science. He rejected it based on his general critique of induction see problem of induction , yet acknowledged its utility as means for inventing conjectures.

A naturalistic methodology sometimes called an "inductive theory of science" has its value, no doubt I reject the naturalistic view: Its upholders fail to notice that whenever they believe to have discovered a fact, they have only proposed a convention. Hence the convention is liable to turn into a dogma. This criticism of the naturalistic view applies not only to its criterion of meaning, but also to its idea of science, and consequently to its idea of empirical method.

Popper instead proposed that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability for demarcation , because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a single experiment can contradict one. Popper holds that scientific theories are characterized by falsifiability.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the term that is used in philosophy. For other uses, see Naturalism disambiguation.

History of metaphysical naturalism. Alternatives to natural selection. Retrieved 6 March Naturalism is not so much a special system as a point of view or tendency common to a number of philosophical and religious systems; not so much a well-defined set of positive and negative doctrines as an attitude or spirit pervading and influencing many doctrines.

As the name implies, this tendency consists essentially in looking upon nature as the one original and fundamental source of all that exists, and in attempting to explain everything in terms of nature. Either the limits of nature are also the limits of existing reality, or at least the first cause, if its existence is found necessary , has nothing to do with the working of natural agencies.

All events, therefore, find their adequate explanation within nature itself. But, as the terms nature and natural are themselves used in more than one sense, the term naturalism is also far from having one fixed meaning. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Methodological naturalism is the adoption or assumption of naturalism in scientific belief and practice without really believing in naturalism. On the Origins of Methodological Naturalism.

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Editor Stone , p. And perhaps we need some natural piety concerning the ontological limit question as to why there is anything at all. But the idea that naturalism is a polemical notion is important". Retrieved 22 December Objective reality exists beyond or outside our self. Any belief that it arises from a real world outside us is actually an assumption.

It seems more beneficial to assume that an objective reality exists than to live with solipsism, and so people are quite happy to make this assumption. In fact we made this assumption unconsciously when we began to learn about the world as infants. The world outside ourselves appears to respond in ways which are consistent with it being real.

The assumption of objectivism is essential if we are to attach the contemporary meanings to our sensations and feelings and make more sense of them. The most obvious components of this comprehensive presupposition are that the physical world exists and that our sense perceptions are generally reliable. It works the other way around. First, nothing in our incomplete but extensive knowledge of history disagrees with it.

The point of law is to serve the common good, and if a candidate legislator is able to do that effectively by exercising political rule, then Aquinas goes so far as to say that such a person has an obligation to govern.

From the late European Renaissance to the end of the 18th century, philosophical debates about the nature of law grew and diversified considerably, involving theorists from England and across continental Europe. There were two major thematic developments during that period. First was the development of the view, first articulated in ancient Greece and developed to some extent by Aquinas, that law should be understood on the model of a command, given by a superior to an inferior, the issuance of which made certain actions obligatory for the rational addressee and putative subject.

Second, starting in the s, there emerged in England an increasingly sophisticated defense of the idea that at the foundation of law was custom, exemplified by the common law of England. Although there were differences between these theorists, they shared certain common assumptions. It was agreed, for example, that law is directed at beings who are free—who have the capacity to choose among a range of available actions—intelligent, and self-directing.

In other words, such beings have the capacity to recognize law as a kind of command addressed to them, to understand that fact as a reason to act or at least to deliberate in certain ways, and then actually to act on the basis of that recognition and deliberation. That the creation of law involved some operation of the will of a person also helped to explain how law motivated its subjects to act accordingly.

The legislator as commander aimed, by enacting laws, to produce behaviour of the sort reflected in the content of a law, which required an operation of the will of the subject of the sort just described.

All these assumptions supported and formed the general view that an essential feature of law is to play a rational but decisive role in the practical reasoning of its subjects—that is, in their reasoning about what they ought to do. This view would enjoy a resurgence among philosophers of law in the late 20th century. The exact nature and role of that history of practice was a matter of some debate, however. Coke held that the law of England had in fact not changed in substance since Saxon or even Roman times and that such prodigious history formed the basis of the legitimacy of the English law of his day.

Hale found this claim dubious and held that the law of the present need not be identical to that of the past but only continuous with it; what is instead essential is an ongoing sense among members of the community that the present law is reasonable and appropriate for their circumstances.

Common-law theory was an important departure from the command model of law, primarily because it moved away from the statute as a paradigm and instead focused on explaining the operation of the courts and their relation to the larger community. The activities of judges and practicing lawyers were therefore, for the first time, given pride of place in constructing a philosophical theory of law. That general approach would become dominant throughout the 20th century.

As part of their philosophy of law, common-law theorists advanced what is now called a theory of adjudication: Instead, the judge discovered or discerned the common law from relevant past cases, treatises , and common experience. Whereas the first common-law theorists were rather parochial in their aspirations—they sought to explain the ultimate basis of the law of England—their importance has increased considerably since the middle of the 20th century.

Because the political and economic power of common-law countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have increased internationally, their legal systems, and the legal theories that justify and explain them, have correspondingly grown in influence. Moreover, international law itself has developed exponentially since the end of the World War II , and custom has long been considered to be one of its legitimate sources. Among the most-influential philosophers of law from the early modern period was Thomas Hobbes — , whose theory of law was a novel amalgam of themes from both the natural-law and command-theory traditions.

He also offered some of the earliest criticisms of common-law theory, which would be developed significantly by theorists in the 18th century. For Hobbes, law was the primary instrument of a sovereign by which to serve the ends of government, which were principally peace and the personal security of all its citizens. Many scholars credit Hobbes as the founder of legal positivism , the dominant philosophical theory of law since the 17th century.

The core ideas of legal positivism are that law is essentially a matter of social fact and that it bears at most a contingent connection with moral norms: For example, a putative law that required people to act in ways that led to their own death would fail to be valid positive law because it would violate the natural law of self-preservation, which Hobbes thought was at the foundation of the purpose of government.

Hobbes thus attempted a synthesis of the natural-law and command traditions, though some scholars think he was far from successful. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.

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Brian Leiter Michael Sevel. Read More on This Topic. Page 1 of 3. In this respect, it is also worth noting that at no time in his career did Camus ever describe himself as a deep thinker or lay claim to the title of philosopher.

Instead, he nearly always referred to himself simply, yet proudly, as un ecrivain —a writer. This is an important fact to keep in mind when assessing his place in intellectual history and in twentieth-century philosophy, for by no means does he qualify as a system-builder or theorist or even as a disciplined thinker.

To pin down exactly why and in what distinctive sense Camus may be termed a philosophical writer, we can begin by comparing him with other authors who have merited the designation. Right away, we can eliminate any comparison with the efforts of Lucretius and Dante, who undertook to unfold entire cosmologies and philosophical systems in epic verse. Camus obviously attempted nothing of the sort.

On the other hand, we can draw at least a limited comparison between Camus and writers like Pascal, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche—that is, with writers who were first of all philosophers or religious writers, but whose stylistic achievements and literary flair gained them a special place in the pantheon of world literature as well. Here we may note that Camus himself was very conscious of his debt to Kierkegaard and Nietzsche especially in the style and structure of The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel and that he might very well have followed in their literary-philosophical footsteps if his tuberculosis had not side-tracked him into fiction and journalism and prevented him from pursuing an academic career.

Perhaps Camus himself best defined his own particular status as a philosophical writer when he wrote with authors like Melville, Stendhal, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka especially in mind: By his own definition then Camus is a philosophical writer in the sense that he has a conceived his own distinctive and original world-view and b sought to convey that view mainly through images, fictional characters and events, and via dramatic presentation rather than through critical analysis and direct discourse.

He is also both a novelist of ideas and a psychological novelist, and in this respect, he certainly compares most closely to Dostoyevsky and Sartre, two other writers who combine a unique and distinctly philosophical outlook, acute psychological insight, and a dramatic style of presentation.

Like Camus, Sartre was a productive playwright, and Dostoyevsky remains perhaps the most dramatic of all novelists, as Camus clearly understood, having adapted both The Brothers Karamazov and The Possessed for the stage. However, his body of work also includes a collection of short fiction, Exile and the Kingdom ; an autobiographical novel, The First Man ; a number of dramatic works, most notably Caligula, The Misunderstanding , The State of Siege , and The Just Assassins ; several translations and adaptations, including new versions of works by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Dostoyevsky, and Faulkner; and a lengthy assortment of essays, prose pieces, critical reviews, transcribed speeches and interviews, articles, and works of journalism.

Camus made no effort to conceal the fact that his novel was partly based on and could be interpreted as an allegory or parable of the rise of Nazism and the nightmare of the Occupation. However, the plague metaphor is both more complicated and more flexible than that, extending to signify the Absurd in general as well as any calamity or disaster that tests the mettle of human beings, their endurance, their solidarity, their sense of responsibility, their compassion, and their will.

Set in a seedy bar in the red-light district of Amsterdam, the work is a small masterpiece of compression and style: Camus began his literary career as a playwright and theatre director and was planning new dramatic works for film, stage, and television at the time of his death. In addition to his four original plays, he also published several successful adaptations including theatre pieces based on works by Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, and Calderon.

He took particular pride in his work as a dramatist and man of the theatre. However, his plays never achieved the same popularity, critical success, or level of incandescence as his more famous novels and major essays. The Misunderstanding Le Malentendu , —In this grim exploration of the Absurd, a son returns home while concealing his true identity from his mother and sister. The two women operate a boarding house where, in order to make ends meet, they quietly murder and rob their patrons.

Through a tangle of misunderstanding and mistaken identity they wind up murdering their unrecognized visitor. Camus has explained the drama as an attempt to capture the atmosphere of malaise, corruption, demoralization, and anonymity that he experienced while living in France during the German occupation. The play is set in the Spanish seaport city of Cadiz, famous for its beaches, carnivals, and street musicians.

By the end of the first act, the normally laid-back and carefree citizens fall under the dominion of a gaudily beribboned and uniformed dictator named Plague based on Generalissimo Franco and his officious, clip-board wielding Secretary who turns out to be a modern, bureaucratic incarnation of the medieval figure Death. One of the prominent concerns of the play is the Orwellian theme of the degradation of language via totalitarian politics and bureaucracy symbolized onstage by calls for silence, scenes in pantomime, and a gagged chorus.

The Just Assassins Les Justes , —First performed in Paris to largely favorable reviews, this play is based on real-life characters and an actual historical event: The play effectively dramatizes the issues that Camus would later explore in detail in The Rebel , especially the question of whether acts of terrorism and political violence can ever be morally justified and if so, with what limitations and in what specific circumstances. After the successful completion of his bombing mission and subsequent arrest, Kalyayev welcomed his execution on similarly practical and purely political grounds, believing that his death would further the cause of revolution and social justice.

Upon seeing the two children in the carriage, he refuses to toss his bomb not because doing so would be politically inexpedient but because he is overcome emotionally, temporarily unnerved by the sad expression in their eyes. Similarly, at the end of the play he embraces his death not so much because it will aid the revolution, but almost as a form of karmic penance, as if it were indeed some kind of sacred duty or metaphysical requirement that must be performed in order for true justice to be achieved.

Nuptials Noces , —This collection of four rhapsodic narratives supplements and amplifies the youthful philosophy expressed in Betwixt and Between. Affirming a defiantly atheistic creed, Camus concludes with one of the core ideas of his philosophy: It is here that Camus formally introduces and fully articulates his most famous idea, the concept of the Absurd, and his equally famous image of life as a Sisyphean struggle.

In the end, Camus rejects suicide: Only this time his primary concern is not suicide but murder. He takes up the question of whether acts of terrorism and political violence can be morally justified, which is basically the same question he had addressed earlier in his play The Just Assassins. After arguing that an authentic life inevitably involves some form of conscientious moral revolt, Camus winds up concluding that only in rare and very narrowly defined instances is political violence justified.

To re-emphasize a point made earlier, Camus considered himself first and foremost a writer un ecrivain. However, he apparently never felt comfortable identifying himself as a philosopher—a term he seems to have associated with rigorous academic training, systematic thinking, logical consistency, and a coherent, carefully defined doctrine or body of ideas.

This is not to suggest that Camus lacked ideas or to say that his thought cannot be considered a personal philosophy. It is simply to point out that he was not a systematic, or even a notably disciplined thinker and that, unlike Heidegger and Sartre , for example, he showed very little interest in metaphysics and ontology, which seems to be one of the reasons he consistently denied that he was an existentialist.

In short, he was not much given to speculative philosophy or any kind of abstract theorizing. His thought is instead nearly always related to current events e. Though he was baptized, raised, and educated as a Catholic and invariably respectful towards the Church, Camus seems to have been a natural-born pagan who showed almost no instinct whatsoever for belief in the supernatural.

Even as a youth, he was more of a sun-worshipper and nature lover than a boy notable for his piety or religious faith. On the other hand, there is no denying that Christian literature and philosophy served as an important influence on his early thought and intellectual development.

As a young high school student, Camus studied the Bible, read and savored the Spanish mystics St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and was introduced to the thought of St. Augustine would later serve as the subject of his baccalaureate dissertation and become—as a fellow North African writer, quasi-existentialist, and conscientious observer-critic of his own life—an important lifelong influence. In college Camus absorbed Kierkegaard, who, after Augustine, was probably the single greatest Christian influence on his thought.

He also studied Schopenhauer and Nietzsche—undoubtedly the two writers who did the most to set him on his own path of defiant pessimism and atheism.

Other notable influences include not only the major modern philosophers from the academic curriculum—from Descartes and Spinoza to Bergson—but also, and just as importantly, philosophical writers like Stendhal, Melville, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka.

Here he unfolds what is essentially a hedonistic, indeed almost primitivistic, celebration of nature and the life of the senses. In the Romantic poetic tradition of writers like Rilke and Wallace Stevens, he offers a forceful rejection of all hereafters and an emphatic embrace of the here and now. There is no salvation, he argues, no transcendence; there is only the enjoyment of consciousness and natural being.

One life, this life, is enough. Sky and sea, mountain and desert, have their own beauty and magnificence and constitute a sufficient heaven. In the first place, the Camus of Nuptials is still a young man of twenty-five, aflame with youthful joie de vivre. He favors a life of impulse and daring as it was honored and practiced in both Romantic literature and in the streets of Belcourt.

Recently married and divorced, raised in poverty and in close quarters, beset with health problems, this young man develops an understandable passion for clear air, open space, colorful dreams, panoramic vistas, and the breath-taking prospects and challenges of the larger world.

Consequently, the Camus of the period is a decidedly different writer from the Camus who will ascend the dais at Stockholm nearly twenty years later. The young Camus is more of a sensualist and pleasure-seeker, more of a dandy and aesthete, than the more hardened and austere figure who will endure the Occupation while serving in the French underground.

He is a writer passionate in his conviction that life ought to be lived vividly and intensely—indeed rebelliously to use the term that will take on increasing importance in his thought. He is also a writer attracted to causes, though he is not yet the author who will become world-famous for his moral seriousness and passionate commitment to justice and freedom.

All of which is understandable. After all, the Camus of the middle s had not yet witnessed and absorbed the shattering spectacle and disillusioning effects of the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Fascism, Hitlerism, and Stalinism, the coming into being of total war and weapons of mass destruction, and the terrible reign of genocide and terror that would characterize the period It is proudly and inconsolably pessimistic, but not in a polemical or overbearing way. It is unbending, hardheaded, determinedly skeptical.

It is tolerant and respectful of world religious creeds, but at the same time wholly unsympathetic to them. In the end it is an affirmative philosophy that accepts and approves, and in its own way blesses, our dreadful mortality and our fundamental isolation in the world. Regardless of whether he is producing drama, fiction, or non-fiction, Camus in his mature writings nearly always takes up and re-explores the same basic philosophical issues.

These recurrent topoi constitute the key components of his thought. They include themes like the Absurd, alienation, suicide, and rebellion that almost automatically come to mind whenever his name is mentioned. Hence any summary of his place in modern philosophy would be incomplete without at least a brief discussion of these ideas and how they fit together to form a distinctive and original world-view. Indeed, as even sitcom writers and stand-up comics apparently understand odd fact: What then is meant by the notion of the Absurd?

Although that perception is certainly consistent with his formula. Instead, as he emphasizes and tries to make clear, the Absurd expresses a fundamental disharmony, a tragic incompatibility, in our existence. So here we are: Sartre, in his essay-review of The Stranger provides an additional gloss on the idea: It arises from the human demand for clarity and transcendence on the one hand and a cosmos that offers nothing of the kind on the other.

Such is our fate: Two of these he condemns as evasions, and the other he puts forward as a proper solution. The first choice is blunt and simple: If we decide that a life without some essential purpose or meaning is not worth living, we can simply choose to kill ourselves.

Camus rejects this choice as cowardly. In his terms it is a repudiation or renunciation of life, not a true revolt. The second choice is the religious solution of positing a transcendent world of solace and meaning beyond the Absurd. In effect, instead of removing himself from the absurd confrontation of self and world like the physical suicide, the religious believer simply removes the offending world and replaces it, via a kind of metaphysical abracadabra, with a more agreeable alternative.

Since the Absurd in his view is an unavoidable, indeed defining, characteristic of the human condition, the only proper response to it is full, unflinching, courageous acceptance. Doomed to eternal labor at his rock, fully conscious of the essential hopelessness of his plight, Sisyphus nevertheless pushes on. In doing so he becomes for Camus a superb icon of the spirit of revolt and of the human condition. To rise each day to fight a battle you know you cannot win, and to do this with wit, grace, compassion for others, and even a sense of mission, is to face the Absurd in a spirit of true heroism.

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Diversifying the philosophical canon is more likely to lead to university budget cuts than to enriched minds. Introduction Knowledge. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is closely related to religion, mathematics, natural science, education and politics.

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