Sunday, July 6, 2014

Syntopicon of Great Ideas of the Western World: Law

Great ideas—“the ideas basic and indispensable to understanding ourselves, our society, and the world in which we live.”[1]

The Great Books of the Western World. Mortimer Adler prepared the Syntopicon:  a collection of some 3,000 topics discussed in the great books, organics under each of 102 great ideas.

An alphabetical arrangement of anything is a cowardly retreat from an intelligible ordering of the material.[2] 

[1] Mortimer J. Adler, Six Great Ideas (NY: McMillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1981),  at 3.
[2] Id. At 22.


Outline of  Law[1]

1.  The definition of law

            1a.  The end of law: peace, order and the common good

            1b.  Law in relation to reason or will

            1c.  The authority and power needed for making law

            1d.  The promulgation of law:  the need and the manner of its declaration

2.  The major kinds of law:  comparison of human, natural, and divine law; comparison of natural and positive, innate and acquire, private and public, abstract and civil rights.

3.  The divine law

            3a.  The eternal law in the divine government of the universe; the law in nature of all creatures

(1)   the natural moral law as the eternal law in human nature

(2)   the distinction between the eternal law and the positive commandments of God

3b.  The positive law: the difference between the law revealed in the Old and the New Testament

(1)   Law in the Old Testament:  the moral, the judicial, and the ceremonial precepts of the Old Law

(2)   The Law in the New Testament:  the law of love and grace; ceremonial precepts of the New Law

4.  The natural law

            4a.  The law of reason or the moral law:  the order and habit of its principles

            4b.  The law of men living in a state of nature

            4c.  The a priori of principles of innate or abstract right:  universal law in the order of freedom; the objectification of the will

            4d.  The natural law as underlying the precept of virtue:  its relation to the moral precepts of divine law
4e.  The relation of natural law to natural rights and natural justice

            4f.  The relation of natural law to civil or municipal law:  the state of nature and the regulations of the civil state

            4g.  The relation of natural law to the law of nations and to international law:  sovereign stated and the state of nature

            4h.  The precepts of the natural law and the condition of the state of nature with respect to slavery and property

5.  The human or positive law:  the sanction of coercive force

            5a.  The difference between laws and decrees

            5b.  The kinds or divisions of positive law

            5c.  The justice of positive law:  the standards of natural law and constitutionality

            5d.  The origins of positive law in the legislative process:  the function of the legislator

            5e.  The mutability or variability of positive law:  the maintenance or change of laws

            5f.  The relation of positive law to custom

            5g.  The application of positive law to cases:  the casuistry (the solving of specific cases or right and wrong in conduct by applying general principles of ethics) of the judicial process; the conduct of a trial; the administration of justice

            5h.  The defect of positive law: its need for correction or dispensation by equity

6.  Law and the individual

            6a.  Obedience to the authority and force of law:  the sanctions of conscience and fear; the objective and subjective sanctions of law; law, duty, and right

            6b.  The exemption of the soverign person from the coercive force of law

            6c.  The force of the tyrannical, unjust, or bad laws:  the right of rebellion or disobedience

            6d.  The educative function of law in relation to virtue and vice:  the efficacy of law as limited by virtue in the individual citizen

            6e.  The breach of law:  crime and punishment
(1)    the nature and causes of crime
(2)    the prevention of crime

(3)    the punishment of crime

7.  Law and the state

      7a.  The distinction between government  by men and government by laws:  the nature of constitutional or political law

      7b.  The supremacy of law as the principle of political freedom

      7c.  The priority of natural to civil law:  the inviolability or inalienability of natural rights

      7d.  Tyranny and treason or sedition as illegal acts:  the use of force without authority

      7e.  The need for administrative discretion in matters undetermined by law:  the royal prerogative

      7f.  The juridical conception of the person:  the legal personality of the state and other corporations

8.  Historical observations on the development of law and on the diversity of legal systems or institutions

9.  The legal profession and the study of law:  praise and dispraise of lawyers and judges

[1] The Great Ideas, Vol. 2, Chapter 46:  Law

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