This expression (also jus naturale) was largely used in the philosophical speculations of the Roman jurists of the Antonine age, and was intended to denote a system of rules and principles for the guidance of human conduct which, independently of enacted law or of the systems particular to any one people, might be discovered by the rational intelligence of man, and would be found to grow out of and conform to his nature, meaning by that word his whole mental, moral, and physical constitution.

The point of departure for this conception was the Stoic doctrine of a life ordered "according to nature," which in its turn rested upon the purely supposititious existence, in primitive times, of a "state of nature;" that is, a condition of society in which people universally were governed solely by rational and consistent obedience to their needs, impulses, and promptings of their true nature, such nature being as yet undefaced by dishonesty, falsehood, or indulgence of the baser passions. In ethics, it consists in practical universal judgements which people themselves elicit. These express necessary and obligatory rules of human conduct which have been established by the author of human nature as essential to the divine purposes in the universe and have been promulgated by God solely through human reason.

natural law: according to theological doctrine, divine law as revealed in nature. The doctrine of natural sexual law is that the divine purpose is procreation, and that sexual passion is sinful and immoral.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

One of the philosophies in jurisprudence. An answer to Legal Positivism.

This follows the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and his belief that an unjust law is no law at all and does not need to be obeyed.

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