Natural Law

  • Created by: amyquince
  • Created on: 10-06-19 17:14

ARISTOTLE

- aquinas developed a few ideas off aristotle

- everything has TELOS (purpose or aim)

- aristotle sees the telos of human beings as EUDAIMONIA (flourishing and living well, the ultimate end that all actions should lead towards)

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ETERNAL LAW

- the law as known in the mind of God.

- it is his knowledge of what is right and wrong

- moral truths that we at human level may be unable to fathom

- god has given us ability to reason

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DIVINE LAW

- law revealed by God through commands and teachings through revelation, eg. scripture

- law is rational not revealed

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NATURAL LAW

- moral thinking that we are all able to do whether or not we have had the divine revelation of scripture

- all humans have capacity to consider and work out the moral rules necessary for acheiving our purpose.

- 'do good and avoid evil'

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HUMAN LAW

- customs and practices of society

- devised by governments and societies

- should be based on what we reason from natural law

- aquinas argues laws are only just if they are based on divine law and natural law

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PRIMARY PRECEPTS

- PRESERVATION OF LIFE

- TO REPRODUCE

- TO LEARN

- TO LIVE IN AN ORDERED SOCIETY

- TO WORSHIP GOD

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SECONDARY PRECEPTS

- more specific rules that can be deduced from primary precepts

- preservation of life - we can deduce that killing someone is wrong

- flexibility is primary precepts

- cathlic interpreters have made quite fixed secondary precepts for example, rejection of contraception given that a primary precept is reproduction. 

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NATURAL LAW AND THE DOCTRINE OF DOUBLE EFFECT

- SEXUAL ETHICS - man attracted the friends wife so tries to persue her. aquinas says there are REAL AND APPARENT GOODS when someone does something morally wrong it is because they are pursuing an apparent good rather than a real good

- ANTIGONE - heroine of play defied order of king creon who forbade the burial of her recently deceased brother. she argues that such defies the natural law of a proper burial. moral reasoning can be developed

- EUTHANASIA - according to natural law the doctor has done nothing wrong but it is not preserving life so this is THE DOCTRINE OF DOUBLE EFFECT

- ABORTION - abortion goes against sanctity of life

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STRENGTHS

- offers clarity and firm moral principles

- primary principles mostly agreed upon

- not as rigid as it might first appear

- values life and rights

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WEAKNESSES

- wrong to assume there is a universal telos

- telos is natural, if natural is in accordance with nature, then a gay person may be right to claim that homosexuality is natural to them

- commits naturalistic fallacy (mistake to define moral terms with reference to other non-moralor natural terms)

- may not be a telos at all - existentialism (humans are free and have no fixed nature)

- telos is linked to God, what if there is no God?

- outdated

- real and apparent goods seems naive

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HUGO GROTIUS

- natural law would still apply if no God

- he thought that because nature was gods creation then natural law and biblical law could not contradict each other

- believes there should be international law based on natural law

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JOHN FINNIS

- believes things such as life and knowledge are basic forms of 'human flourishing' 

- allows for more flexible and modern version of natural law

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