The Rehabilitation of Natural Law
Dr Daniel S. Baldino.
Any individual who argues that practical reason is the source of moral wisdom adopts a natural law perspective. Natural law exists independently of positive law and asserts that all people have certain rights that cannot be taken away. The natural law is implicit in the natural order of things and therefore ‘unwritten’. Accordingly, the challenge is whether a rehabilitation of natural law is a genuine option in the issue of human rights, and by extension, international ethics in today’s era. This paper will argue that the rehabilitation of natural law is not only a genuine option but also an urgent requirement in these times of discord, genuine helplessness and anxiety. The idea that there is a higher law than human law warrants merit. Natural law is currently enjoying a revival of interest in a variety of scholarly disciplines and can act as a critical guide to the proper context for positive law while also forging bridges in the continuing debate between rationality and faith, religion and mystery. Further, in so far as it specifies a universal standard, natural law theory offers a pathway to re-open a wider agenda linked to human interests such as whether the actions of nation-states should be subject to a set of higher moral principles. Nonetheless, the rehabilitation of natural law requires a clearer understanding of the limitations of part historical and part cultural viewpoints.
Dr Daniel S. Baldino (Australia)
Lecturer in Politics
Division of Business, Law and Information Services School of Business and Government
University of Camberra
I am currently a lecturer in the School of Business and Government at the University of Canberra. I teach in a range of subject areas such as Parties and Elections and International Relations. I have also worked in a similar role as a research associate in the challenging context of the Congressional Research Service, Washington DC. My Masters thesis results, based on an examination of the impact of globalization on political and economic organization in Malaysia and Poland, won me a Ph.D. scholarship. My recently completed PhD examined the impact and impulses of US democracy promotion under the Clinton administration.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)