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A new approach to understanding the relationship between Aristotle's political philosophy and the natural law tradition. Aristotle and Natural Law offers an important new examination of Aristotle's political thought and its relationship to the natural law tradition.
The book challenges recent alternative interpretations of Aristotle and argues that Aristotle's ethics is most usefully seen as a particular type of natural law theory. Tony Burns shows that the type of natural law theory to which Aristotle subscribes is an unusual one because it does not allow for the possibility that individuals might appeal to natural law in order to critically evaluate existing laws and institutions.
Rather its function is to provide legitimacy for existing laws and conventions by providing them with a philosophical justification from the standpoint of Aristotle's metaphysics. Burns claims that this way of thinking about natural law can be traced in the writings of a number of thinkers in the history of philosophy, from Aquinas through to Hegel, but argues that because this tradition begins with Aristotle it is appropriate to describe it as 'the Aristotelian natural law tradition'.
Continuum Studies in Ancient Philosophy presents cutting edge scholarship in the history of ancient philosophy. The wholly original arguments, perspectives and research findings in titles in this series make it an important and stimulating resource for students and academics from across the fields of Philosophy and Classical Studies.