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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Deryck Beyleveld

Beyleveld, Deryck (2017). Sheffield Natural Law School. In Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. Sellers, M. & Kirste, P. Dordrecht: Springer. 1-8.

Author(s) from Durham


“The Sheffield Natural Law School” (SNLS) designates the work of a group of scholars influenced by Beyleveld and Brownsword (1986), who use the moral theory of Gewirth (1978), according to which the Principle of Generic Consistency (PGC) (see below) is the categorical imperative, to conceptualize legal validity and to evaluate the normative status of practical precepts and social institutions. The SNLS has paid particular attention to issues of bioethics and the regulation of technology (especially biotechnology) (e.g., Beyleveld and Brownsword 2001; Pattinson 2002; Bielby 2008; Brownsword 2008). Capps and Pattinson (2016) provides samples and an overview of work of the SNLS. The main protagonists have left the University of Sheffield.
The SNLS is built upon Gewirth’s justification of morality (defined as a system of impartial normative rules governed by a categorical imperative). Gewirth contends that the PGC is categorically binding because it is dialectically necessary, i ...