20. This basic “natural law” is that which naturally leads men to preserve themselves from pain or death at the hands of those who are stronger than they. Ultimately, it is the natural law of social self-preservation that is stamped upon everyone, and it involves the necessity of resistance to oppression. Thus, the fundamental natural law of ethics and society is, for d’Alembert, an empirical fact in the history of humanity. The first laws of organized societies were designed to limit oppression; thus they derive from the natural law of self-preservation, protecting the members of society as well as possible from pain and death at the hands of the strong. This seems almost to be a Hobbesian view of the natural state of man and the origins of law, government, and the ideas of right and wrong.


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