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Cicero on Laws - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 85
Laws/Natural Justice/ Cicero/Höffe: [Laelius] declares justice a natural justice in the sense of a law of reason: "The true law (vera lex) is the right reason (recta ratio), which is in harmony with nature (naturae congruens), which is granted to all humans (diffusa in omnis), permanent (constans), eternally valid (sempisterna)" (III 33).
A few lines later, Cicero adds three more elements to these five: no instance can release people from the law, there is no need for an explicator or interpreter, and the common teacher and master is God (III 33; for natural law, Book I of De legibus/About the laws is also important).
Höffe: These provisions, influenced by the Stoa, can be regarded as a classic formulation of natural justice.
Vs: But the opponent present in Philus' speech questions all five elements or gives them a different meaning, for example:
True law follows the principle of utility; it consists in prudence; nature, which is bestowed upon all men, looks out for its own benefit; not least, the supposed laws of nature are in truth fickle and changeable.
VsVs: Instead of giving such counter-arguments and then invalidating them, the counter-position to natural law is labelled as sacrilege, in which the Roman horizon of thought could be hinted at: To deviate from the established custom is absolutely reprehensible.
Höffe: As in the preceding natural law thinking, Cicero also lacks more detailed provisions on the content. However, Cicero explains what corresponds in legal theory to a legal moralism and contradicts a legal positivism: Positive laws can only be "law" if they are in accordance with nature and reason.



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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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