Natural Moral Law

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  • Created by: freya241
  • Created on: 20-04-16 22:41
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  • Aquinas' Natural Moral Law
    • Origins
      • Stoics
        • God is everywhere and in everyone
        • Humans have a 'divine spark' which helps them discover how to live according to God/nature
        • Humans have a choice to decide whether to obey these cosmic laws
      • Aristotle
        • Every natural object has a specific nature, purpose and function
        • Supreme good can be found when something fulfils it purpose
          • The supreme good for humans is eudaimonia - happiness
            • Reason is the highest of all human activity
    • The Purpose of Human Beings
      • Humans are made 'in the image of God', so the supreme good must be the development of this image (perfection)
        • This perfection is not achievable in this life, happiness begins now and continues into the next life
      • Eternal Law
        • The principles by which God made and controls the universe - only fully known to God
      • Divine Law
        • The Bible - which reflects eternal law but can only be seen to those who believe in God
      • Natural Law
        • The theory that an inate eternal absolute moral law can be discovered in everyone by reason
    • Natural Inclanation
      • God has instilled in all humans inclinations to behave in certain ways which lead us to the highest good and discover the precepts which reflect God's Natural Law
      • Apparent Good
        • Something which seems to be the right thing to do but does not fit the perfect human ideal
      • Real Good
        • The right thing to do - fits the human ideal
      • We can distinguish between real and apparent goods by using our reason correctly
      • Acts are right or wrong in themselves
    • Precepts
      • Primary Precepts
        • Always true and apply to everyone without exception
          • 'Reflections' of God's eternal law
        • Preservation of Life
        • Reproduction
        • Education of children
        • Peaceful Society
        • Worship of God
      • Secondary Precepts
        • Dependant on our our own judgment in different siutations
          • Open to making wrong choices
        • Require experience, use of reasoning and the exercise of wisdom
        • Makes natural law flexible and realistic
    • The Doctrine of Double Effect
      • There are times when we have moral dilemmas in which we cannot do good without bad consequences
      • It is always wrong to do a bad act intentionally in order to bring about good
      • It is acceptable to do a good act despite having unintended bad consequences
      • A pregnant woman requires a hysterectomy, the death of the foetus is an unintended consequence of saving her life
    • Strengths
      • A clear cut approach to morality
      • Reasonable primary precepts
      • Focuses on human character rather than intrinsic moral values, allows for a level of flexability
      • Doesn't require a belief in God
      • Values human life
    • Weaknesses
      • Difficult to relate complex decisions to basic principles
      • Doesn't consider consequences
      • Double Effect allows to make any action moral if consequences are 'unintended'
      • Human nature is constantly changing and not as simplistic as the Primary Precepts suggest


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