Philosophy Compass 11 (2):91-101 (2016)

Jonathan Crowe
Bond University
This article considers natural law perspectives on the nature of law. Natural law theories are united by what Mark Murphy calls the natural law thesis: law is necessarily a rational standard for conduct. The natural law position comes in strong and weak versions: the strong view holds that a rational defect in a norm renders it legally invalid, while the weak view holds that a rational defect in a legal norm renders it legally defective. The article explores the motivations for the natural law position, before considering three lines of natural law argument found in the literature. I conclude by examining the arguments offered by John Finnis and Murphy in support of the weak natural law view. I suggest that these arguments fail to impugn the strong natural law thesis. Indeed, the functional argument outlined by Murphy provides a plausible route to a hybrid natural law view that incorporates both weak and strong claims
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12315
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