H.L.A. Hart's Understanding of Classical Natural Law Theory

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 24 (2):287-302 (2004)

Authors
Cristóbal Orrego
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Abstract
The article examines H.L.A. Hart's most important texts on classical natural law theory in order to assess his understanding of that theory. The author considers first the way of presenting the two meanings of the theory of natural law (namely, moral objectivity and the union of law and morals). Afterwards, he analyzes Hart's thought on the first thesis, especially on the teleology of human nature; then on the second one, especially on the meaning of the invalidity of unjust laws. In both cases, the author compares Hart's understanding with the self understanding of natural lawyers, referring preferably to Aquinas and Finnis. The conclusion is that Hart misunderstood classical natural law theory in such a way that it warranted the suspicion that he did not have a first hand acquaintance with that theory
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DOI 10.1093/ojls/24.2.287
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