oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Remarks on the uniformity of natural law concepts in the history of legal philosophy

Volume 24 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



The aim of this paper is to investigate different meanings of the concept of natural law in the history of ideas since the early Greeks. Texts of Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics are briefly examined, followed by an analysis of some well-known texts of Roman law. Although natural law is generally-speaking linked with human equality, it appears from this investigation that sometimes in antiquity, natural law is also invoked to underpin human inequality. A parallel is drawn with natural-law philosophy in the twentieth century. On the one hand, we find that the link between natural law and human equality is most often maintained, but on the other hand we also find invocations of natural law to justify societal exclusion. Is this the reason for the intrinsic weakness of natural-law philosophy?

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