Natural Law Aquinas

A quick overview of Aquinas' development of Natural Law.

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 25-01-13 11:59
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  • Natural Law Aquinas (1225-74) Summa Theologica (1273)
    • 'The natural is that which everywhere is equally valid.'
      • Following Aristotle and the Stoics, Aquinas developed the tehory of Natuarl Law as an absolutist and deontological ethical theory. The theory states that acts are intrinsically right or wrong.
    • Aquinas believed that Natural Law is God's divine law which directs people to their destiny.
    • Summarising the theory, the law is 'good is to be done and evil avoided'.
    • The law is found in the scripture, thorugh revelation but is can also be deduced thorugh reason. Therefore, Aquinas said that everyone may be able to realise the law.
    • For Aquinas, ignoring reason means ignoring God.
    • Aquinas believed that all humans must behave in a way that means their acts are in accordance with the divine purpose for humanity. Also he said that we can know this through reason.
      • Aquinas came up with 5 primary precepts for the purpose of human beings:
        • Preserve life, reproduce, educate children, live in society and worship God.
        • Aquinas considered good acts to be those that are in accordance with the primary precepts. Aquinas names these good acts secondary precepts.
    • Aquinas argued that acts are intrinsically good or bad and that when good acts are done, God's purpose is glorified.
    • Aquinas also suggested that at times, humans may be led by apparent 'goods' that tempt them away from Natural Law.
    • Aquians considered both the intention and act as imprtant and believed that both must be done out of charity for others.


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