Natural Law

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  • Natural Law
    • Telos
      • Through God given reason I can determinethe telos of an action.
        • E.g. The telos of sex is procreation. Any action which prevents this telos is wrong, e.g. contraception
          • Aristotle – everything has an end/purpose (telos)and an efficient cause (how to achieve the telos).
          • Aquinas – the telos is God’s intention so the rightthing is to achieve the telos.
    • The Four Tiers of Law
      • Natural law – how the rational creature participates in the eternal law of God.(Conscience – reasoning and observing nature we can know what is right).
      • Divine law – the Scriptures. Knowable to reason but to teach us with certainty on matters.
      • Civil law – put in place to order society – if reasoned properly they will be in keeping with Natural law.
      • Eternal law – the mind of God, ‘God’s plan (only partially knowable to humans).
    • The Precepts
      • Primary Precepts: (POWER)
        • - Preserve          life          - Ordered      society         - Worship         God           - Educate       children       - Reproduce
      • Secondary Precepts:
        • Rules that help fulfil the primary precepts  E.g. Murder is wrong because it breaks ‘preserve life’.
    • Doctrine of Double Effect:
      • Sometimes an action can be performed even if it has secondary negative consequences.
        • This is because the intention of the act is something positive. E.g.morphine to reduce pain but a secondary result is death is hastened.
    • Real and Apparent Good
      • Sometimes we do the wrong thing because weconfuse real goods and apparent goods.
        • Real goods > unity with God.
      • We are misguided by sin or by emotions and choose the wrong thing. Real goods are the only acts we should aim to do.
    • Reason
      • ? Know the right thing to do               ? Determine the telos.
      • Everyone has practical reason. This means I can:
      • Aquinas placed emphasis on reason:“To disparage the dictate of reason is to condemnthe command of God”.
      • We can use our reason to know the right thing because we are naturally inclined towards good.
      • Synderesis ruleHumans naturally aim towards good and avoidevil. This is natural law.


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