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This article focuses on the history of the concept of natural law and the role which Aristotle, and especially his Rhetoric, has to play within it. It is sometimes suggested that the origins of the concept of natural law are to be located in the writings of Plato and Aristotle in the fourth century BCE. The article argues that there is evidence both in Aristotle's Politics and in his Rhetoric to support the view that this is not the case. In these texts Aristotle suggests that the origins of the concept of natural law lie in the writings of the Sophists in the fifth century, some of whom used natural law arguments to question the legitimacy of slavery.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, St Thomas University, Fredericton NB, E3B 5G3, Canada., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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