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6 The Impact of Ancient Legal and Philosophical Ideas on the Late Medieval Rights Discourse

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains the impact of ancient legal and philosophical notions, especially those of Aristotle and Aristotelianism in the medieval rights discourse. A more common opinion among scholars is that both Plato and Aristotle as well as Roman law represented the objective right tradition and that the objective sense of right was transmitted to the medieval discussion through the study of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Roman legal sources. By the late medieval period in particular, the Aristotelian approach to ethics and politics had become so dominant that there was something to be gained from citing Aristotle whenever possible, even in support of conclusions reached by a different route. Besides Aristotle and Aristotelianism, there were also other important ancient philosophical schools that had influenced the subject, especially the Stoic and the Augustinian Neoplatonist philosophers.

Keywords: ancient legal ideas; ancient philosophical ideas; Aristotle; late medieval period; natural rights; Plato; Roman legal sources

10.1163/9789004282582_008
/content/books/b9789004282582_008
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