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Article

Access_open Philosophy and Law in Ancient Rome

Traces of Stoic Syllogisms and Ontology of Language in Proculus’s Jurisprudence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Stoicism, Roman Law, Theory of Language, Syllogisms, Classical Jurisprudence
Authors Pedro Savaget Nascimento
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper uses Stoic theory of language to gain more insight into Roman lawyer Proculus’s legal opinions on the meaning and understanding of ambiguous testaments, wills and dowries. After summarizing Stoic theory of language, the paper discusses its reception in Roman jurisprudence and situates Proculus in a Stoic legal/philosophical context. The meat of the article lies in the re-examination of Proculus’s legal opinions on ambiguities in light of Stoic theory of language, through: (1) the analysis of a case demonstrating that Proculus’s embeddedness in Stoic doctrine went beyond his technical competence in propositional syllogisms, going into the territory of Stoic physical materialism and, (2) the investigation of four cases that reveal how his approach to problems of ambiguity in unilateral legal acts converges with the Stoic conception of the parallelism between speech and thought.


Pedro Savaget Nascimento
Pedro Savaget Nascimento holds a PhD in Law and Language from the University of Birmingham (UK) and currently works as Research Designer in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).
Article

Access_open Over de klassieke oorsprong van de rechten van de mens

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2011
Keywords human rights, natural law, perfectionism, Stoa, Cicero
Authors René Brouwer
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article I reconstruct the contribution of some central Hellenistic political thinkers to a theory of human rights. Starting point is the traditional Stoic conception of the law of nature as a power in which only perfect human beings actively participate. In the 2nd century BC the Stoic Panaetius adjusted this traditional high-minded theory by also allowing for a lower level of human excellence. This second-rate human excellence can be achieved just by following ‘proper functions’, which are derived from ordinary human nature and can be laid down in rules. From here, it was only a small, yet decisive step – presumably to be attributed to one of Cicero’s teachers – to discard the highest level of human perfection altogether. This step, I argue, paved the way for an understanding of the rules of natural law in terms of human rights.


René Brouwer
René Brouwer is Lecturer in Legal Theory at the University of Utrecht.
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