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Finnis's natural law without nature

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Chapter Summary

The big leap from Pufendorf to the twentieth century does not imply that the intermediate centuries did not produce any natural law theory worth mentioning. On the contrary, seventeenth-century natural law theory was the starting-point for an enormous number of theoretical and political innovations. Finnis's attempt can shed light on the frequently recurring demand for a foundation of human rights. His attempt to provide for a philosophical framework for our thinking on law and morals is meant to give us insight in the underlying values and principles on the basis of which competing right-claims can be resolved. The main attraction of Finnis's theory is that it aims at unification: it promises to furnish us with a unified theory of law and morals by means of which modem ethical and legal dilemmas can be reconciled.

Keywords: Finnis's analysis; natural law theory; Pufendorf



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