Natural Law Vs Positivism

Natural Law Vs Positivism

Natural Law vs .​
The philosophy of​ law is​ a​ complex and in​ depth study,​ which requires an​ intimate knowledge of​ the​ legal process in​ general as​ well as​ a​ philosophical mind .​
For centuries,​ the​ scope and nature of​ law has been debated and argued from various view points,​ and intense intellectual discussion has arisen from the​ fundamental question of​ 'what is​ law' .​
In response,​ several major schools of​ thought have been born,​ of​ which the​ natural law scholars and positivists are two of​ the​ most notable .​
These two camps hold strictly contrasting views over the​ role and function of​ law in​ certain circumstances,​ and have provided in​ themselves platforms for criticism and debated which continue to​ be relevant today.
Although the​ classifications of​ natural law and positivism are frequently used,​ it​ is​ important to​ remember that they cover a​ very wide range of​ academic opinion .​
Even within each camp,​ there are those veering towards more liberal or​ more conservative understandings,​ and there is​ also naturally a​ grey area .​
Having said that,​ academics and philosophers can be enveloped by one of​ the​ categories on​ the​ basis of​ certain fundamental principles within their writings and opinions .​

Natural law has always been linked to​ ultra-human considerations,​ that is​ to​ say a​ spiritual or​ moral influence determinant of​ their understandings of​ the​ way law operates .​
One of​ the​ founding principles is​ that an​ immoral law can be no law at​ all,​ on​ the​ basis that a​ government needs moral authority to​ be able to​ legislate .​
For this reason,​ natural law theories have been used to​ justify anarchy and disorder at​ ground level .​
This had lead to​ widespread criticism of​ the​ natural law principles,​ which have had to​ be refined and developed to​ fit with modern thinking .​
On the​ flip side,​ natural law has been used as​ a​ definitive method of​ serving 'justice' to​ war criminals and former-dictators after their reign .​

Some of​ the​ strongest criticisms of​ natural law have come from the​ positivist camp .​
Positivism holds at​ its centre the​ belief that law is​ not affected by morality,​ but in​ essence is​ the​ source of​ moral considerations .​
Because morality is​ a​ subjective concept,​ positivism suggests that the​ law is​ the​ source of​ morality,​ and that no extra-legal considerations should be taken in​ to​ account .​
Positivism has been criticised for allowing extremism and unjust actions through law .​
It has also been suggested that positivism in​ its strictest sense is​ flawed because it​ ignores the​ depth and breadth of​ language in​ legal enactment,​ which means the​ positive law can be read in​ different lights based on​ differing meanings of​ the​ same word .​
Despite this,​ positivism has been seen as​ one of​ the​ fundamental legal theories in​ the​ development of​ modern legal philosophy over the​ last few decades,​ and is​ winning widespread favour through a​ contemporary academic revival.
Natural law and positivism have been the​ subject of​ an​ ongoing academic debate into the​ nature of​ law and its role within society .​
Both respective legal schools have criticised and built on​ one and others theories and principles to​ create a​ more sophisticated philosophical understanding of​ the​ legal construct .​
Although the​ debate is​ set to​ continue with a​ new generation of​ promising legal theorists,​ both natural law and positivism have gained widespread respect for their consistency and close analyses of​ the​ structure of​ law.

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