Natural Law

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Natural Law

  • Deontological theory: concerned with the intrinsic worth of an action and not with the consequences
  • Aristotle: the way to be happy is to live a virtuous life
  • Aquinas: being virtuous leads to union with God 
  • Virtues include courage, patience, love and charity
  • Aristotle: everything has an end/purpose (telos) and an efficient cause (how to achieve the telos)
  • Aquinas: the telos is God's intention so the right thing is to achieve the telos
  • Aquinas placed emphasis on reason: Everyone has practical reason. This means I can: Know the right thing to do and determine the telos
  • We can use our reason to know the right thing to do because we are naturally inclined towards good
  • Real and apparent goods: sometimes we do the wrong thing because we confuse real goods and apparent goods
  • Real goods lead to unity with God 
  • We are misguided by sin or by emotions and choose the wrong thing
  • Aquinas and law: four types of law
  • Eternal Law: the mind of God, 'God's plan' (only partially knowable to humans)
  • Divine Law: The Scriptures. Knowable to reason but to teach us with certainty on matters
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