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Analyse the key features of either Natural Moral Law or Virtue ethics.
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the selected theory.
Natural Moral Law was introduced by Aristotle but it was developed by St
Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas believed that that the universe had a strict moral
code which was given by God through natural moral law. Natural Moral law is
said to be universal, unchanging, and relevant to all circumstances.
Therefore this law is said to objective because it applies all circumstances are
said support the view that every situation is to be treated equally. This can be
supported by Genesis 1:28 When God created Humanity to share a common
goal of equality. Humans receive natural moral law through holy scriptures such
as the Bible and Torah. Through Natural moral law, human perceive the
implications of either following or disobeying the law. i.e. the eschatological
implications of obeying being rewarding in heaven and disobeying being
punished in hell. This is supported by the bible in Mathew 5:29, `So if your
right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better to
lose part of your body then for you whole body to be thrown into hell'.
Aquinas proposed 4 cardinal virtues which to living a good life for humankind.
These are :
Justice proper moderation between selfinterest and the rights and needs of
Prudence able to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at
a given time.
Temperance practicing selfcontrol abstention, and moderation.
Fortitude endurance, and ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation.
Natural moral law is universal and morality is determined by the right and
wrongness of an action e.g.' Do not kill' Exodus 5:20 is seem to be right
regardless of its consequences.
Aquinas believed that God created everything within the universe to work
towards and end or purpose. He saw that carrying out a right action meant
achieving that end.
In addition Natural moral law enables humanity to learn, reproduce, worship God
,live and maintain an orderly society.
Furthermore Aquinas proposed 4 types of related law
Eternal law God's will
Passed down through
Divine law Teaching in religious scriptures .
Natural moral law in which we base our morality through scriptures
(Theomous) , as well as `intuitionalism' ( using our own reasoning and logic ).
Moral law passed down through natural law, in order to govern society. This is
said to be (Hetermous) e.g. Shariah Laws.
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Natural moral law draws its inspirations from St Paul our nature and revealed to
us by our reason, the moral law is known to us in the measure that reason brings
a knowledge to out understanding. The question arises: How far can man be
ignorant of the natural law, which, as St. Paul says, is written in the human heart
because it is evident in human kind (Romans 2:14).
Evaluation of Natural Moral Law
Aquinas maintained that humanity is working towards a common goal.…read more