This is probably the original meaning of the word law , whence it was gradually transformed to the other kinds of laws natural laws laws of art. Most modern writers on ethics, who do not hold to a positive Christian point of view, adopt these Spencerian ideas, e. In what then does this obligation which law imposes upon us consist? Law is a bond imposed upon the subjects by which their will is bound or in some way brought under compulsion in regard to the performance or the omission of definite actions. Such outward tokens, however, are not absolutely necessary to law. The fact that law is an emanation of the highest authority, or is issued by the presiding officer of the community by virtue of his authority, is what distinguishes it from mere counsels, requests, or admonitions, which presuppose no power of jurisdiction and can, moreover, be addressed by private persons to others and even to superiors. In Islam, the Quran is considered to be the most sacred source of law. A distinction is further made between the laws of Church and State according as they are issued by the authorities of the State or of the Church. It may be said that the natural forces and tendencies placed in the nature of creatures, are themselves the law, the permanent expression of the will of the Eternal Observer Who influences creatures and guides them to their appointed ends, not by merely external influences but by their innate inclinations and impulses. Thus man feels himself to be always and everywhere bound, without losing his freedom in a physical sense, to the order appointed him by God. A human lawgiver is never able to foresee all the individual cases to which his law will be applied.
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Typical of writers on ethics of this school are the opinions of Herbert Spencer.
It may be said that the natural forces and tendencies placed in the nature of creatures, are themselves the law, the permanent expression of the will of the Eternal Observer Who influences creatures and guides them to their appointed ends, not by merely external influences but by their innate inclinations and impulses. Kant's views contain a germ of truth, which, however, they distort until it can no longer be recognized.
This consciousness of duty is further developed in men by the accumulation of experiences and inheritance.
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According to Kant our reason itself is the final source of obligation, it obliges us of itself, it is nomothetic and autonomous, and the absolute form in which it commands us is the categorical imperative.