Natural Law theory

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  • Natural Law
    • Basic theory
      • Deontological - concerned with the intrinsic worth of an action and not with the consequences.
      • Absolutist - actions are always right or wrong with no hesitations or exceptions.
      • St. Thomas Aquinas
        • Ideas from Aristotle's view on eudaimonia.
    • Aristotle vs Aquinas.
      • Aristotle - the way to be happy is to live a virtuous life (eudaimonia).
        • Aquinas - being virtuous - union with god.
      • Aristotle - virtues include courage and patience.
        • Aquinas added Christian virtues such as love and charity.
      • 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 right thing is to achieve the telos.
    • Reason.
      • "To disparage the dictate of reason is to condemn the command of God"
      • We can use our reason to know the right thing because we are naturally inclined towards good.
    • Real and apparent goods.
      • Sometimes we do the wrong thing because we confuse real goods with apparent goods.
      • Real goods - unity with God
      • We are misguided by sin or by emotions and choose the wrong thing
    • Aquinas and Law.
      • Eternal Law - the mind of God, God's plan.
      • Divine Law - the scriptures. knowable to reason but to teach us with certainty on matters.
      • Natural Law- how the rational creature participates in the eternal law of God (conscience - reasoning and observing nature we can know what is right.)
      • Human Law - put in place to order society - if reasoned properly they will be in keeping with Natural Law.
    • Primary + Secondary Precepts.
      • Ordered society
        • build more homes
        • encourage community activities
      • Educate the young
        • free education
        • school compulsory
      • Worship God
        • hold school assemblies
        • Go to church regularly
      • Reproduce
        • Abortion is wrong
        • Contraception is wrong
      • Preserve life
        • Do not murder
        • Do not commit suicide
    • Interior and Exterior acts. - both must be good for the act to be good
      • Interior act - the intention or motive behind the action
      • Exterior act : the act itself.


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