Natural law mind map

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  • Created by: henry
  • Created on: 22-03-13 18:20
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  • Natural Law
    • Nature
      • Deductive - Starts with basic principles from which the correct moral action can be deduced
      • deontologica looks at intent not outcomes.
      • Objective - rules independent of individual thoughts and desires
      • Absolute - un-breakable laws
        • Pope benedict xvi secular society has moved away from absolutes - call this 'dictatorship of relativism'
      • Prevents manipulation and values human life
    • 'Efficient' and 'final' causes
      • What gets things done (efficient cause)
      • End product (final cause)
      • E.g. efficient cause of sex is enjoyment
      • Final cause of sex (what god designed it for) is procreation
        • Therefore sex is only for procreation
      • final cause - evaluating the intent - tells us about the morality of the action
    • Real and Apparent goods
      • self should be maintained
      • natural law supports certain virtues that allow the self to fulfill its purpose.
      • there are  many vices that prevent the individual from being what god intended them to be
      • following a real good will result in improvement of self. - closer to ideal human nature god planned.
      • Apparent goods may be pleasurable (e.g drugs) - cause us to fall short of our potential.
      • Reason is used to determine real goods from primary precepts
    • Causistry and Double effect
      • causistry - process of applying natural law to a situation
      • wrong to kill (based on secondary precepts, derived from primary)
        • Acceptable in self defence,
      • Double effect refers to situations where there is an intended outcome and another significant but unintentional outcome
        • Unintended effect has to be proportionate
          • Critics say this causes N.L. to become like utilitarianism
      • intentions more important than consequences
    • Weaknesses
      • Using reason to determine God’s purpose for humans  is not consistent - multiple functions for each thing, sex might be for enjoyment for some people
        • Aquinas needs to look at the human as a whole, not just at functioning parts; this way, we can understand the emotional and psychological value of sex
      • Many argue that there is no purpose in life
        • natural disasters and diseases suggest no designer behind the universe
      • Doesn't consider the complexity of moral dilemmas
        • Doesn't consider the consequences
      • No cultural relativism Neilsen questions unchanging nature of Primary Precepts
        • Gareth Moore argues our nature is a product of culture and society.
      • Jesus was opposed to legalism, and broke rules in order to do the most loving thing. "Christ jesus abolished the law with its absolute legal claims."
    • Strengths
      • God - Doesn’t require belief in God, as it is based on empirical observations of our nature.
      • Values human life highly. - treats people with dignity and cant be manipulated
      • Natural Law gives us rules that are true independently of our individual thoughts and desires.
      • double effect gets around problems of conflicting secondary precepts
      • secular society has lost all sense of objective values and truth. Pope Benedict calls this the ‘dictatorship of relativism’.
      • Clear cut - easy to make moral decisions
      • universally applicable


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