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January 30th, 2013:

Richard Epstein: Natural Law in Ancient and Modern Guise

As good an introduction as any to Prof. Richard A. Epstein, who has latterly called himself a Classic Liberal, having moved along that spectrum from “pretty libertarian” (and who was and largely still is known as a libertarian) to “pretty Utilitiarian, depending on just what’s meant by that”). He taught for some 30 years at the University of Chicago Law School, and has now moved to the NYU Law School, while retaining a position as Lecturer at UC.

This is a rather unusual take on Natural Law, I think. I imagine few will agree with all his points, but just when you think he’s strayed so far from any reasonably libertarian position (his are basically Chicago School economics, for instance, with lots of stuff about Pareto improvements), he hits you (by “you” I mean me *g*) with a new and intriguing point. You also get to see him in the full range from Serious Lecturer to Comedian Making a Serious Point (at the end, where he discusses animal “rights”). He is electric with intelligence and enthusiasm.

The talk, by the way, refers a great deal to Roman Law. Prof. Epstein chose to start college at Oxford, where his first courses were in that field.

The event is introduced by libertarian Prof. Randy Barnett, Professor of Legal Theory at Georgetown Law School.

1:20 min. at


Natural Law In Ancient and Modern Guise
4-1-10 — TheFederalistSociety

The Federalist Society’s Georgetown Student Chapter presented its Seventh Annual Lifetime Service Award to Professor Richard A. Epstein on April 1, 2010. Prof. Randy Barnett of the Georgetown University Law Center opened the event and Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz also of the Georgetown University Law Center introduced Prof. Epstein. Prof. Epstein’s address was titled “Natural Law in Ancient and Modern Guise”.

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