Natural-law

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  • Natural-Law
    • Origins
      • Aristotle: believes that everything has purpose and that this was universal standard of behaviour.If we fulfil that purpose we are good but if not we are bad-" a good knife is one that cuts well: that's what its designed to do".
        • Cicero:True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting"
          • Stoics-Stoics believed that "there was a design and purpose to the universe (the Logos), and that ones morality ought to bfundamental e based on aligning oneself with it."
            • If We Want To Behave Morally We Must Fulfil Our Purpose Which for the Stoics was to "fit in with the overall plan of the universe", rather than acting in a way which was influenced by personal gain or happiness.
              • Aquinas
                • He claimed that because every human is created by God, our purpose is to live life according to God's Plan for us
                  • He wants humans to act in specific ways and that is why he provided us with rules which govern how he wants us to behave. If we behave according to the rules we act morally.
                    • However, if we disobey God's rules we behave immorally. Therefore, our actions are considered to be intrinsically right or wrong.
    • Principles/key-features
      • primary-Precepts
        • W.O.R.L..D
        • Aristotle: believed that our purpose is to-do"what-ever conserves life and opposes death"
      • secondary-precepts
        • Bowie-"secondary precepts are rulings about things that should or shouldn't do because they uphold or fail to uphold the primary precept"
      • Role-of-human-reason
        • Thompson:human reason is the ability to direct themselves and take responsibility in knowing and doing what God intends for them"
          • Reason-built-in sense of right and wrong. Aquinas-allows us to workout what Gods plan for us because scripture does not always tell us what to-do.
            • Aquinas:"to disparage the dictate of reason is equivalent to condemning the command of God.
              • Thompson-"since natural law is based on reason, it is in principle discoverable by anyone whether religious or not.for the same reason it is universal rather than limited to one religion or culture"
      • Apparent-goods
        • Aquinas-Acknowledged human reason. However,human experience has shown"humans are fallible in their use of practical reason"
          • Aquinas:people act immorally because they seek an apparent good rather than a real good.He says "no evil can be desirable,either by natural appetite or conscious will.it is sought indirectly,namely because it is the consequence of some good"
      • interior/exterioracts
        • Aquinas-internal intention just as important as the external act.
      • Doctrine-of-double-effect
        • Bowie-"If my primary intention was good, I should not be blamed for any secondary effects that result.".
      • Acts/omissions-doctrine
        • Acts/omissions-makes an ethical difference between doing something and letting something happen
          • Blackburn-"Absence of bodily movement can also constitute acting negligently, or deliberately, and depending on the context may be a way of ... killing."
            • Phillipa foot"we should ask whether there is any difference from the moral point of view between what one does or causes and what one merely allows. It seems clear that on occasions one is just as bad as the other".
              • singer/Rachels-reject acts/omissions- They argue that for instance stopping treatment removing feeding tube with these actions is likely to bring about the death of a patient is deliberate acts not omissions.
                • They argue that in some cases letting patient die by stopping treatment can cause the patient greater suffering.Untitled
                  • Hope-"It is perverse to seek a sense of ethical purity when this is gained at the expense of the suffering of others.”
  • Proportionalism
    • Bernard-Hoose
    • Vardy&Grosch-"Proportionalism-holds that there are certain moral rules and that it can never be right to go against these rules unless there is a proportionate reason to justify it"
    • Proportionalism was condemned by the Catholic church.
  • Natural law-strength(Right)/weaknesses(left)
    •  It provides Christians with the knowledge and certainty of rules which can never be broken.
      • absolute
    • doesn't apply to everyone
      • Legalistic
  • Assisted conception
    • IVF-NATURAL-LAW
      • Destruction of life.
      • Catholics believe that sexual intercourse must have both unitive and procreative purposes and therefore it is immoral for reproduction to occur without sexual intercourse. 
        • Wilcockson comments that "the process of creating life is not just a biological one but one in which requires the intimacy and love of two individuals to create another human being who is loved and wanted"
          • Entrusts the life and identity of the embryo in to the power of doctors".
      •  Presbyterian church says "we believe in the sanctity of life from conception...."
      • Wyatt-"a commodity at our disposal"
    • SURROGACY-NATURAL-LAW
      • involves the use of IVF therefore for Christians the same ethical issues still apply
  • LIFE/DEATH-ISSUES-
    • EUTHANASIA
      • Contrary to primary precept to preserve life.
        • Human life is sacred.
          • Vardy&Grosch--""if you are a religious believer and consider that life is a gift from God, then you may well argue that your life is not your own. Only God has the right to take life and you have no right to put an end to it early."
          • Jenkins-humans must "accept suffering as we accept happiness and joy."
            • Tyler-An illness which in natural death represents a complete life, brought to an end by God within his own timing and purpose, whereas euthanasia represents a challenge to God's divine will"
      • Refer to acts/omission doctrine.
        • SINGER/RACHELS-REJECT-ACTS/OMISSIONS.
        • Difference between active/passive euthanasia
    • Tyler-An illness which in natural death represents a complete life, brought to an end by God within his own timing and purpose, whereas euthanasia represents a challenge to God's divine will"

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