Thinking about the law with Edmund Burke

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Burke intervened in a very significant way at various moments in the political history of the England of his time. Although being considered by some commentators to be a utilitarian, in fact, it is Burke’s fidelity to the principles of natural law that makes all his political interventions coherent. The aim of this paper is to analyze the subordination of positive law to natural law and original justice in Burke’s thought, and we will achieve that by perusing his works through different periods of his career. In order to better understand his position, we will call to the conversation John Locke, from whom he departs, and Francisco de Vitoria, with whom he shares the notion of a society-dependent human nature. From the prophetic views of Burke and Tocqueville about the future, and as a kind of conclusion, we will question if the reference to natural law makes sense in present times.
Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Edmund Burke
  • Positive law
  • Natural law


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