Tom Angier’s Natural Law vs. the Natural Law Formula




Natural law, New Natural Law School, John Finnis, Social Contract, Aquinas


This article presents a comprehensive overview and analysis of Tom Angier’s latest book, “Natural Law Theory”, published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press, and also compares its main conclusions with another study that analyses how natural law scholars have argued over the last century. To achieve this goal, the article initially outlines the core ideas of Angier’s book, which seeks to elucidate and assess the most significant theories of natural law throughout history, with an emphasis on the traditional approach rooted in Aristotle and the Stoics. Angier introduces the innovative “via negativa” method for identifying natural law principles within this framework. Following the exposition of the book’s content, the article draws parallels between Angier’s conclusions and the findings of another research project about the “Natural Law Formula” (or methods) currently used by natural law experts in legal literature. Both Angier and this research observe that contemporary authors face challenges in grounding the principles of natural law in the physical and spiritual human nature. Lastly, the article evaluates the “via positiva” and “via negativa” methodologies, highlighting their potential contradictions and concordances, while suggesting avenues for further refining Angier’s arguments.


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Author Biography

Juan Carlos Riofrio, Strathmore University (Nairobi, Kenia)

Associate Professor of Human Rights at Strathmore University (Nairobi, Kenya).

He was full Professor of Constitutional Law and Theory of Law at University of the Hemispheres (Quito, Ecuador), where he was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Director of a Master’s degree in Human Rights, Constitucional and Environmental Rights. Visiting professor at University of Angers (France) and in other universities. He has three degrees, one specialty and two doctorates in Guayaquil, Quito and Rome: last one is his Ph.D. at Pontificia Università della Santa Croce (Rome, Italy). Director of Ius Humani Law Journal. Author of twelve books on law and humanities, fifth teen chapters of books, published in America, Latin-America and Europe. Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University (Atlanta, US).




How to Cite

Riofrio, J. C. (2023). Tom Angier’s Natural Law vs. the Natural Law Formula. Strathmore Law Journal, 7(1), 1–13.