Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Nomos: is an expression from ancient Greek for customs and conventions, as well as for laws not adopted by a general assembly. See also natural justice, law.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Ancient Philosophy on Nomos - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 304
Nomos/Ancient philosophy/Keyt/Miller: Nomos stands to physis as the artificial, the manmade, stands to the real, and as common opinion stands to truth (Aristotle, Sophistici Elenchi 12.173a7—18).
Convention: Two stock examples of the conventional are money (Aristotle, Pol. I.9.1257bl0-17)
and the names of things - one's own name, for example (Plato, Crat. 384d). The idea that nomos
and physis are antithetical seems to have originated in the fifth century BC. Once it gained currency it set the terms for the discussion of ethical and political ideas. A favourite way of undermining the validity of something was to argue that it existed only by nomos and not by physis (Plato, Laws X.889e—890a).
Gaus I 306
Literature: Thus, when Antigone in Sophocles' play invokes the eternal unwritten law calling upon her to bury her brother in the face of the law of Creon demanding that her brother remain unburied, her appeal to the eternal law (Sophocles, Antigone 456-8) is taken by Aristotle to be an appeal to nature in spite of the fact that her speech does not mention physis (Rhet. I.13.1373b1-18, 1.15.1375a25-b4).
(There is a large literature on this distinction. One of the major works on the nomos-physis distinction is Heinimann 1945(1). On the evolution of ancient legal thought from earliest times see Miller, 2004(2).)


1. Heinimann, Felix (1945) Nomos und Physis: Herkunft und Bedeutung einer Antithese im Griechischen Denken Des 5 Jahrhunderts. Basel: Reinhardt.
2. Miller, Fred D., (ed.) (2004) A History ofthe Philosophy of Law _fmm the Ancient Cheeks to the Scholastics. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Keyt, David and Miller, Fred D. jr. 2004. „Ancient Greek Political Thought“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

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Taureck I 32
Nomos/Ancient Philosophy/Anonymus Iamblichi/Taureck: Question: Can a man with a "soul strength of diamond" live against the law?
Such a "superman" could not survive, unless he provided his forces for the promotion of justice and law.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ancient Philosophy
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

Taureck I
B. H.F. Taureck
Die Sophisten Hamburg 1995


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-18
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