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Scottish Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century$
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Alexander Broadie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198769842.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount of Stair, on Legal Normativity

James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount of Stair, on Legal Normativity

(p.140) 9 James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount of Stair, on Legal Normativity
Scottish Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century

Laurent Jaffro

Oxford University Press

The chapter concentrates on Stair’s understanding of laws, whether human-made or divine. Scots law is a particular application of a rational legislation, which ultimately rests upon God’s perfections. However, positive law cannot be entirely derived from natural law, mainly because of the Fall and also for pragmatic reasons. One important aspect of Stair’s contribution to legal and moral philosophy is his distinction between conventional and obediential obligations (from the will of God only), and his account of the principle of ‘engagement’ at work in conventional obligations. Also, Stair’s view that a promise is binding per se, without acceptance by the promisee, deserves attention.

Keywords:   Natural law, Scots law, legal normativity, promise, obligation, James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount Stair

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