Natural Law

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  • Natural Law
    • Aristotle
      • Telos: The key idea in Aristotle´s natural law is that there is an unchanging order (principle) to the changing physical world and by understanding this we can learn what is normal or natural for someone or something to do, or be, or become
      • Efficient Cause: Things we do to achieve something.
      • Final Causes: The ´telos´ this is what should happen if we do the right things.
      • The Inner principle of human nature is reason
    • Aquinas
      • Built on Aristotle's thought and combined with the Catholic Church
      • natural theology (which was based on human reason) did not go against revealed theology (which was based on revelation by God).
      • Aquinas' Four Laws
        • Eternal Law, this is Gods will and wisdom, the rational ordering of the universe
        • Divine Law is given through scripture and the church it guides humanity to righteousness
        • Natural Law is the source of fulfilling ones purpose on earth
        • From this Human Law is derived (Romans 13:1)
      • The universe was created by God so that everything has a design and a purpose.
    • "True law is right reason in agreement with nature. It is applied universally and is unchanging and everlasting" The Republic
    • Strengths
      • reasonable as the basic principles of preserving human life, reproduction, education and living in society are common factors of all (most) societies and cultures
      • concentrates on the human character and their potential to flourish rather than on the rightness or wrongness of an act.
      • considers the purpose of humanity and how to achieve this
    • Weaknesses
      • Consequences can be morally questionable due to the slavish adherence to dogmatic beliefs (e.g. Spread of AIDS due to not permitting contraceptives).
      • Science suggests the world has no rational system of laws governing it. The ‘laws of nature’ are impersonal, blind and without reasoned motive.
      • relies on an individual’s ability to reason their purpose in life, how to achieve it and what actions will direct them towards it


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