instinctualism: a theory of law from within


Legal philosophy dates to the Ancient Greek Philosophers, and it continues to be a vigorously debated subject due to the fact that there does not exist a legal philosophy that is beyond reapproach that encapsulates law’s origins or purpose. This paper will introduce a new legal philosophy, which I have termed instinctualism. Instinctualism is the idea that law originates from human instinct. Human beings are born with certain natural capacities that they learn to utilize as they mature. Examples include speaking, walking, associating, and interacting with others, and practicing faith in a divine being, the state, or some other source of inspiration and hope. Human beings don’t think about the potential illegalities of speaking their minds, moving from one place to another, or engaging in conversation with their friends or associates unless they are indoctrinated to do so. Rather, human beings do these things because they have instinctual desires and the knowledge to do so. Other rights and laws such as freedom of the press are the product of peoples’ instinctual rights. For example, as people learn to speak, they instinctually share information and news about their inner circles or communities. If taken a step further, one begins to discuss an organized press. Knowledge and understanding of laws, such as those limiting certain types of speech, i.e., hate speech, must be taught and learned; it is not instinctual. This paper will introduce a subset of the most influential legal philosophies of different eras in human intellectual development, beginning with those of Ancient Greece. It will proceed to describe the shortcomings of those philosophies before introducing instinctualism as an alternative. After defining instinctualism, I will proceed to discuss how it addresses the shortcomings of other legal philosophies. Next, I will introduce rights guaranteed to the citizens of four prominent countries via relevant sources of primary law for each of those countries. Finally, I will close by reviewing the main arguments in the paper and discussing future research that I will undertake to buttress this paper’s arguments.

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