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The Second BirthOn the Political Beginnings of Human Existence$
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Tilo Schabert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226038056

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226185156.001.0001

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In Law

In Law

(p.105) In Law
The Second Birth

Tilo Schabert

, Javier Ibáñez-Noé
University of Chicago Press

The rule of law is necessary in every human society. Human beings come together driven by the natural predicament of their bodily existence, which makes them dependent on mutual help. But the association of human beings gives rise to a second, “political,” predicament, insofar as humans, who have entered society for their own benefit and not that of others, may be inclined to prey on others and to become poachers of the common good. That is why a power standing above merely human power must be erected to rule them; this is the power of the law, which is not subject to human whims and desires but is essentially impartial. Such a super-human power gives the law the character of the “Absolute.” This character has been variously interpreted as the power of the divine (Aristotle), of reason (Cicero), or of the nature of things (Hobbes, Anonymous Iamblichi). This reflection shows that there is something in the law that goes beyond a mere human stipulation, namely a universal fore-knowledge of the Just.

Keywords:   law, the predicament of human existence, the rule of law, The Absolute

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