Existentialism and Natural Law

Jonathan Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper explores methodological connections between the existentialist and
natural law traditions, with particular emphasis on the writings of Jean-Paul
Sartre and John Finnis. Existentialist approaches to phenomenology hold
promise in illuminating the epistemological foundations of natural law
accounts, especially those emphasising human self-fulfilment through
practical choice. Some methodological challenges common to projects in the
fields of existentialist ethics and natural law are discussed. It is suggested that
an existentialist perspective holds potential in reinforcing contemporary
natural law responses to the so-called ‘fact-value distinction’. Such an
approach affords a promising methodological structure for investigating the
pre-moral foundations for social judgements of ethical significance, thereby
providing qualified support for the type of natural law theory advocated by
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
JournalAdelaide Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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