Natural Law

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  • Natural Law
    • Aristotle's Ideal of Telos
      • Aristotle that everything in the universe had a telos (purpose or aim).
      • Aquinas thought we have moral actions from free and rational beings. Argued people aim to achieve eudemonia.
      • Aquinas thought people needed help from God to direct motives and make sure they do the right thing.
      • Aristotle sees telos of humans as eudaimonia- flourish and live well and our actions leads towards good.
    • Natural Law is the Christian thinking of Thomas Aquinas.
      • Ethics is based on human nature. Aim to fulfil our purpose.
      • Natural Law deontological- system of rules based on actions and duties.
      • Aquinas thought human nature is good and rational people seek goodness (vision of God).
    • The Stoics
      • Saw the world as an ordered place by God and believed we had a spark inside us to help us understand the world.
      • The way to become a happy human is in order to accept the nature law. Favoured rational and emotional emotions.
      • "True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application" Cicero.
      • Aquinas and the stoics- he developed the idea of telos (humans have a purpose). Reason Is given by God and that we have human nature.
    • Aquinas' Four Tiers of Law
      • 1. Eternal Law: mind go God. Knowledge of what's right and wrong. Moral truths are at human life and God gives us the ability to apply it.
      • 2. Divine Law: law revealed by God through scripture.
      • 3. Natural Law: moral thinking we do when exposed to scripture. Humans have the capacity to consider moral rules and involves rational reflection.
      • 4. Human Law: consensus of society devised by the government. These laws should be based on the Divine and Natural Law. Immoral to break to divine law.
    • Aquinas and the primary precepts
      • 1) Preservation of life.
      • 2) To reproduce: rational to ensure life continues.
      • 3) An orderly society
      • 4) Education: natural for us to learn.
    • Secondary precepts
      • Primary precepts aren't specific so secondary precepts were introduced with specific rules.
      • Phronesis: practical wisdom to make the right judgement. Natural law depends on the situation based on the wisdom.
      • "practical wisdom requires the application to action, which is the goal of practical reason" Aquinas.
      • "To the Natural Law belongs everything to which a man is incline according to his nature" Aquinas.
    • Real and apparent goods: Aquinas
      • Real goods: they are in accordance to the primary precepts and God's wishes.
      • Apparent goods: things tempt us as they seem enjoyable but not aiming human flourishing.
    • The Doctrine of the Double Effect
      • Aquinas: situation where a single action has two effects.
      • Intention is important- intention to do something good.
      • "nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one which is intended" Aquinas
    • Strengths
      • Offers firm and clarified principles.
      • Primary Precepts: Agree on desirable goods. Reflect the natural world show they benefit human.
      • Secondary Precepts:  reasoned with the context of society- time and space.
      • It values life. Right for people evident in nature.
      • Double effect allows to see the good and bad effects.
    • Weaknesses
      • Wrong to assume that there is a universal telos. Some may priorities their career and not believe in God.
      • If natural means according to nature, a gay person may not see homosexuality as right to them.
      • Natural Law has a naturalistic fallacy- guilty of observing of what is common in nature and it must happen.
      • There may not be a telos. Atheism: no purpose.
      • Telos linked to the creator God. If there is God, there's no telos.
      • Difficult in judging the intention. May appear as self defence to kill someone.
    • Hugo Grotius
      • Dutch Philosopher argue Natural Law would still apply without God.
      • International Law based on Natural Law and given how Nations treat each other.
    • Untitled
      • Believed knowledge, play and work are 'basic forms of human flourishing'. Basic human needs.
      • From Basic needs we conclude moral principles- obey law and not harm others.


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