History of Austro-Libertarian Thought: 384 BC – 2020 AD

384 – 322 B.C.

The origin of natural law is human nature, it neither depends on people's decrees nor exists by people's thinking; it is everywhere the same and consists in following natural, universal, and constant tendencies implanted in men.

1225 – 1274

Natural law is created by God.

1632 – 1704

Natural law is given by God but we can discover some of its content by the light of reason alone since God also created us with reason capable of following His will.

1840 – 1921

No special interest in natural law; yet, as considered from the point of view of economic science, human well-being, and needs as well as means (goods) of satisfying them have, to a great extent, their origin in human nature and the biology of human organism.

1851 – 1914

No mention.

1881 – 1973

Mises rejects the idea of natural law and subscribes to a form of utilitarianism; the notion of natural law is illusory, the same as the idea that men are created equal; there is no such thing as natural law and a perennial standard of justice.

1899 – 1992

The classical idea of natural law as discoverable by human reason is rejected; if, however, the term "natural" is contrasted with "invented" or "deliberately designed" then the origin of "natural law" is spontaneous, Lamarckian evolution via imitative learning, especially via adjudication of disputes by courts according to customary practices of a community.

1905 – 1982

Natural law has its origin in observable facts of human nature and reality, especially in man's natural capacities for reason and independent living as well as in his biological needs for material goods that are essential bases for individual rights to life, liberty and property; God has nothing to do with natural law.

1926 – 1995

Natural law is not created or evolved but deduced by reason.

The origin of natural law is man's rational nature, specifically his ability to argue; norms of natural law (contrary to conventional norms) are these norms to which no alternative exists and which cannot be denied by human beings argumentatively without falling into performative contradiction.

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