ARISTOTLE AND HUMAN RIGHTS.docx

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ARISTOTLE AND HUMAN RIGHTS. Aristotle’s natural law theory is unconventional in certain respects. In particular, Aristotle does not consider natural law to be a critical standard by means of which positive law might be evaluated. This places Aristotle outside the mainstream of natural law theory as it has been traditionally understood. Aristotle is not, in this sense at least, the forerunner of the Stoic natural law tradition and of the individualistic, liberal natural law theory of the modern era. He is, rather, the founding father of what might best be described as the conservative natural law tradition, the most well-known adherents of which in modern times are Montesquieu, Burke and Hegel. 1 ARISTOTLE ON THE CONCEPT OF JUSTICE In his book, Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle suggests that ‘justice 2 ’ as we all know, describes two different but related ideas: ‘General Justice’ and ‘ Particular Justice’. General justice construed as, that our actions are generally just when we are wholly virtuous in all matters relating to others. Particular justice, on the other hand, refers specifically to treating others fairly or equitably 3 . On this foundation, he develops the concept of ‘political justice’ which derived partly from nature, and is partly a matter of convention. Natural justice is a thus a species of political justice. It is, in other words, the system of distributive and corrective justice that would be established under the best political community. 4 Constitutions that advance the common good are perfectly just, while those that benefit only the rulers are unjust, because they necessitate despotic rule which is wrong for a community of free persons 5 . Aristotle looks at justice as an object that derives its beauty not from itself but form elements of beauty discovered within the object itself. He argues that justice has an inherent connection to law in that only laws that pursue the idea of justice can be considered right. Indeed, he says, justice has a universal value that transcends local customs or/and conventions 6 . HUMAN RIGHTS. 1 Raymond wacks, understanding to jurisprudence, an introduction to legal theory,5 th edition, pp 15-17 2 : the fair treatment of people.
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