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Aristotle's Teaching on Natural Law

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Give an account of Aristotle’s teaching about Natural law

Aristotle was the first practitioner to contribute to the creation of Natural Law as inspired by his mentor Plato he developed the relationship between Natural and conventional justice and outlined the use of Natural inclinations in Natural law. In this essay I will outline Aristotle’s contribution to Natural law.
Aristotle’s works, Nicomanchean Ethics and The Politics illustrate the close between legal and political philosophy. In Nicomanchean Ethics, Aristotle argued that law supports a virtuous existence, advances the lives of individuals and promotes the ‘perfect community’. He proposed people should employ practical wisdom or active reason in order to behave in a way that is consistent with a virtuous existence. Aristotle defined justice as ‘a state of mind that encourages men to perform just actions, ‘just’ meaning ‘lawful’, ‘fair’ and ‘virtuous’. In theory, then, there exists a universal standard of natural justice which is unchangeable, but in practice there must always be a mix of natural justice and legal justice in the laws of the city. Therefore while the principles of natural justice don't change, natural justice in action varies because in applying natural justice conventional justice needs to be added.
Aristotle divided ‘political’ justice into ‘natural’ and ‘conventional’ justice. According to Aristotle, the content of ‘natural’ justice (or ‘universal’ law) is set by nature, which renders it immutable and valid in all communities. In contrast, ‘conventional’ justice comprises rules devised by individual communities to serve their needs. Aristotle argued ‘conventional’ justice is subject to change (depending on the form of government), and is therefore subordinate to ‘natural’ justice.
In Nicomanchean Ethics, Aristotle identified a further two types of justice: distributive and...

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