12 ene. 2013

The Critical Neonaturalism

Paulo Ferreira da Cunha
Rethinking Natural Law
Springer-Verlag GmbH, Berlin/Amsterdam, 2013, xvi, 70 pp.
ISBN: 9783642326585

For centuries, natural law was the main philosophical legal paradigm. Now, it is a wonder when a court of law invokes it. Arthur Kaufmann already underlined a modern general "horror iuris naturalis". We also know, with Winfried Hassemer, that the succession of legal paradigms is a matter of fashion. But why did natural law become outdated? Are there any remnants of it still alive today? This book analyses a number of prejudices and myths that have created a general misconception of natural law. As Jean-Marc Trigeaud put it: there is a natural law that positivists invented. Not the real one(s). It seeks to understand not only the usual adversaries of natural law (like legalists, positivists and historicists) but also its further enemies, the inner enemies of natural law, such as internal aporias, political and ideological manipulations, etc. The book puts forward a reasoned and balanced examination of this treasure of western political and juridical though. And, if we look at it another way, natural law is by no means a loser in our times: because it lives in modern human rights.

“[…] Ferreira da Cunha in this book does not argue for equality, or link it to natural law. But his inclinations about justice as a measure of impartiality lie in the direction of what today has come to be called “social justice.” This popular term embraces equality of a different kind from the meanings of equality just set forth. It embraces what we may call “distributive justice” which entails manipulating the material resources of a productive economy so as, allegedly, to even them out. Here, because state power is involved, we need natural law, what Ferreira da Cunha calls “critical neonaturalism,” more than ever, directing its normative energies to curb the “force, power, and politics” of marauding politicians. The best in positive law thinking can help here too if we keep in mind that morality is the other side of the bridge. Positive law can step in boldly when the social order needs a jolt. When, for example, prejudice bitterly cripples an innocent minority, moral convictions standing alone are simply not enough. “…the spirit of Justice[is]…what counts, and it counts even more today, in times of prolonged and deep crisis, when the world needs a meaning that Justice should help to find.” (p. x)

“ […] Ferreira da Cunha puts it, “the globalisation of Human Rights is a great triumph of Antigone.” The great triumph is natural law’s neoconstitutionalism as higher law, a powerful norm of conduct helping to rectify both intolerable deprivations and the needless fatalities of physical aggression. In the midst of our current global crises, Ferreira’s writings lead toward a resurgence of believing the ethical approach, iusnaturalism, is foremost” (p. xi)

Prefeace, by Virginia Black (Founding Editor “Vera Lex”)



Part I Foundations

1 Goethe’s Swan.
1.1 The Paradigms
1.2 The Eternal Return of Natural Law
1.3 What is the Nature of Natural Law?

2 The Contributions of the Paradigm “Natural Law”
2.1 Natural Law is a Legal Pluralist Ontology
2.2 Natural Law and Legal Principles
2.3 Natural Law, a Juridical Vigilant of Power
2.4 Natural Law, a Bridge Between Law and Morality

3 Sterility of Natural Law Theoricism
3.1 The Leipzig Book Fairs.
3.2 Deconstructing Myths About Natural Law
3.2.1 Natural Law is Not the Perfect Law
3.2.2 Natural Law Needs Positive Law (and Vice Versa)
3.2.3 Natural Law May Change
3.2.4 Natural Law is Neither a Decalogue Not a List
of Legal Titles

4 From the Side of Positivism
4.1 Legalistic Positivism
4.2 Sociological Positivism and Historicism

Part II New Visions Old Questions

5 Contemporary Natural Law Dialogues
5.1 A Plural Natural Law, in Dialogue
5.2 Dialogues with Literature, Economic Theory and Theories
of Justice
5.2.1 Natural Law and Literature
5.2.2 Natural Law and Economy
5.2.3 Natural Law and New Theories of Justice
5.3 Dialogues with the Past: the Issue of “Classic”
or “Modern” Natural Law
5.4 The Dialogue Between Natural Law and Human Rights
5.5 For a Non-political and Unitary Theory of Natural Law

6 What Natural Law Is, What It Is Not
6.1 Natural Law Is Esoteric
6.2 Natural Law Is a Method
6.3 Natural Law Is Not a Code
6.4 Natural Law Is Not Even Written
6.5 Natural Law Is Dialectical

7 Legacies and Achievements of Iusnaturalism
7.1 Lights and Shadows of the Political Legacy of Iusnaturalism
7.2 The Legacy of Natural Law Principles and the Hierarchy
of Legal Sources
7.3 Iusnaturalism, a “Constant and Perpetual” Quest and Fight
for Justice. Pedagogy of Justice
7.4 Iusnaturalism, a Monument of Intellectual Pluralism
7.5 Iusnaturalism, Philosophical Father of Human Rights
7.6 Natural Law as Theories of Justice. The Apory of ‘Suum’
and Social Justice
7.7 Justice, Constans et Perpetua Voluntas

8 Avatars of Natural Law. Natural Law in Different Colours
8.1 Beyond the Classic Opposition Natural/Positive
8.2 The Law or the Judge?
8.3 The Dogma or the Topic?
8.4 All the Theories
8.5 New Theories. The example of Neo-constitutionalism
8.6 New inputs. The example of “Vital Law”
8.7 A Critical Neo-Iusnaturalism

Paulo Ferreira da Cunha is Professor of the Philosophy of Law at Porto University (Portugal).


Mi buen amigo el Profesor da Cunha, a quien conozco para más de quince años, me hace llegar la noticia de esta nueva publicación, compuesta a finalísima hora de 2012 y que ahora inicia su difusión y distribución. Quiere con ella alcanzar nuevos públicos, favoreciendo a los lectores de habla anglosajona. Paulo Ferreira da Cunha, de extraordinaria capacidad de trabajo y colosal producción, tiene una importantísima presencia editorial y docente en Brasil, además de en el mismo Portugal. También publicado, por sí o en coautoría, en idioma francés, español, griego o chino.

He seguido el desenvolvimiento de su sólido pensamiento, siempre original, culturalista y de vocación abierta a proyectar en su bagaje de defensas iusnaturalistas un ámbito de reflexión comunicable a las direcciones más contemporáneas del pensamiento jurídico. La propuesta de Critical Neonaturalism es dialogante, cargada de tolerancia y densidad social. Y es, desde luego, necesaria y muy valiosa en el actual panorama de Derecho natural.
Mi saludo de bienvenida a los post de este año 2013, donde es seguro que su honestidad intelectual e incansable labor hallará acogida en numerosas oportunidades. En esas presencias no se tratará de amistosa hospitalidad, sino de cumplido derecho.


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