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The limits of Suárez's natural law theory

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Chapter Summary

Natural law is based on rational nature and apprehended by rational reason, but it operates as a set of binding precepts. To Francisco Suárez, the importance of natural law lies in its effectiveness. And obviously, the more specified its precepts are, the more effective it is. This chapter argues that Suárez is confronted with similar problems in his account of the application of natural law to positive law. The natural law concerning man's dominium (pertaining to liberty, property and contracts) is made highly dependent on how its materia is conceived by public authority. Suárez's treatment of the ius gentium, however, suggests that he does not merely juxtapose reason and will. Speaking about the rules that can universally be found within particular communities, as well as in international relations, Suarez asserts that these are founded in custom.

Keywords: Francisco Suárez; ius gentium; natural law theory

10.1163/9789004247383_006
/content/books/b9789004247383s006
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