Natural Moral Law

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  • Natural Moral Law
    • Primary Purposes
      • Key features
        • The Universe was created by God - this means everything has a purpose ('telos')
          • This purpose can be understood through an examination of the natural world and from the Bible
            • God gave humans reason and freedom - God's purpose for humans was for them to choose to follow good
              • This is called natural law - the rational understanding and following of God's purpose
      • Purposes of Life (Aquinas)
        • to live (self preservation)
        • to reproduce
        • to learn (be educated)
        • to worship God
        • to live in an ordered society
        • Aquinas thought humans were naturally inclined to do these things
    • Seconds Precepts
      • rules about things we should/ shouldn't do because they follow/ do not follow the primary purposes
      • eg: Purpose = to reproduce
        • precept = do not abort
        • precept = do not use contraception
        • precept = homosexuality is wrong
    • Real and Apparent Goods
      • human nature is essentially good as  natural law is within everyone
      • humans are orientated around perfection and so, never knowingly pursue evil
      • to correctly distinguish been real and apparent goods is to use to use reason to choose the right thing to do
      • you develop your virtues through practise
      • "theological" virtues = faith, hope, charity.
      • '"natural"/ "cardinal" virtues = prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice
    • Reason and Human Purpose
      • Reason (divine reason) - perceived thing revelation from scriptures and through human reason
      • ultimate purpose is fellowship with God
      • Human should do good and avoid evil
      • to become an ultimately good person, you need religion and reason
    • Exterior and Interior Motives
      • intention and act are both important
        • act is more important
      • performing a goo act for the wrong reasons = good exterior act but bad interior act
      • Aquinas only values God as the "only end"
        • act are intrinsically good or bad, otherwise God s glorified when humans act accriding to their ultimate purpoe
    • Alternatives to NML
      • Proporionalism
        • advocated by Richard McCormick and Bernard Hoose
        • recognises the importance of reflecting human nature to reveal general moral law
        • does not believe that natural law is always absolute binding
        • sometimes, a situation will demand putting NML aside for the sake of the greater proportionate good
          • even if this may unavoidably entail committing ontic evil
            • ontic evil = an act that is wrong but not immoral. (eg: eating a rotten apple)
        • ontic evil = an act that is wrong but not immoral. (eg: eating a rotten apple)
        • in a proportionate situation, the morals goes out of the  window and the greater good goes against the immorality
        • eg: Kosovo women who were raped by Serbian soldiers during 1999 were given the morning-after pill by the United Nations peace keeping forces
          • NML - morning after pill is wrong as the contraception hinders the primary purpose of procreation
          • Proportionalism - give the pill as it is better to prevent the pregnancy from the rape, it is a better god
    • Critiques of NML
      • Naturalistic Fallacy
        • GE Moore
        • Aquinas' "goodness" =will of God as seen through nature
        • According to Moore, "good" is a simple, non-natural, indefinable quality - it cannot be defined or understood, unless it has been experienced (like the colour yellow)
        • There is the naturalistic fallacy (a natural mistake) by thinking that "good" be analysed in terms of some other property
      • Is-Ought Gap
        • David Hume
        • Is statements = descriptive = statements about the way things are
        • Ought statements = prescriptive = statements about the way things should be
        • Hume states that we cannot jump fro a factual statement to a morally prescriptive statement
        • Natural Law is therefore problematic for Hume as it depends on a close relationship between what actually exists (the purpose of nature)and what ought to be done to achieve that purpose
      • Hugo Grotius
        • provided a secular theory of human rights
        • emphasises individual rights and a potentially secular nature of NML
        • shifted the emphasis of NML away from the idea of collective responsibility for human purpose
          • emphasises the role of the individual as an independent moral agent
    • deontological = focuses on whether acts are intrinsically right or wrong
      • teleological = focuses on the end goal (telos)
    • Four types of law (Aquinas)
      • Eternal - God's will and wisdom, and rational ordering of the universe
      • divine - given in scripture and through church. guides humans to happiness
      • natural - the source of fulfilment on earth
      • human positive law is derived
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