Edmund Burke and the Natural Law

Edmund Burke and the Natural Law

by Peter Stanlis

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Overview

Today the idea of natural law as the basic ingredient in moral, legal, and political thought presents a challenge not faced for almost two hundred years. On the surface, there would appear to be little room in the contemporary world for a widespread belief in natural law. The basic philosophies of the opposition--the rationalism of the philosophes, the utilitarianism of Bentham, the materialism of Marx--appear to have made prior philosophies irrelevant. Yet these newer philosophies themselves have been overtaken by disillusionment born of conflicts between "might" and "right." Many thoughtful people who were loyal to secular belief have become dissatisfied with the lack of normative principles and have turned once more to natural law.

This first book-length study of Edmund Burke and his philosophy, originally published in 1958, explores this intellectual giant's relationship to, and belief in, the natural law. It has long been thought that Edmund Burke was an enemy of the natural law, and was a proponent of conservative utilitarianism. Peter J. Stanlis shows that, on the contrary, Burke was one of the most eloquent and profound defenders of natural law morality and politics in Western civilization. A philosopher in the classical tradition of Aristotle and Cicero, and in the Scholastic tradition of Aquinas, Burke appealed to natural law in the political problems he encountered in American, Irish, Indian, and British affairs, and in reaction to the French Revolution.

This book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published, and will be mandatory reading for students of philosophy, political science, law, and history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781351312264
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 09/29/2017
Series: The Library of Conservative Thought
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 311
File size: 696 KB

Table of Contents

Introduction the Transaction Editionix
Forewordxxix
Prefacexxxiii
1The Philosophic Content and Historical Importance of Natural Law3
2Natural Law and Revolutionary "Natural Rights"14
3Burke and the Natural Law29
4The Law of Nations85
5Revolutionary "Natural Rights"125
6Human Nature160
7Church and State195
8Burke and the Sovereignty of Natural Law231
Appendix I251
Appendix II255
Bibliography259
Notes265
Index307

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