Developments A2 Edexcel

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  • Created by: Maria
  • Created on: 05-06-13 21:36

Natural Moral law

The roots of the natural moral law can be traced back to Aristotle who believed that humans have an inbuilt sense of right and wrong and cicero who said that “true law is right of reason in accordance to nature”

St Thomas Aquinas believed that what is natural is what is good and what is unnatural is bad and irrational he believed that all acts should be done in order for humans to achieve their external destinies with God. He made the assumption that fundamentally humans wish to do good and avoid evil and a human being would never intentionally commit an immoral act except through apparent good this is the idea of something that seems to be good but is not e.g. the fornicator seeks pleasure which involves him in moral guilt. We all have the internal desire to want to fellowship with God so we should not fall below the standards of God’s expectations.

Aquinas believed intentions were important the interior act must be good in order for the interior act to be good for example we should not give money to charity to make ourselves look like better people. The ultimate interior act must be to give glory to God.

From his observation that humans were naturally inclined to do good and avoid evil he formulated the 5 primary precepts which are self-preservation, reproduction, education, order society and worship God. From the primary precepts secondary precepts are derived which are no abortion, suicide is wrong, contraception obstructs God’s will and protect the defenceless

Kant’s Moral theory

Immanuel Kant created this theory he believed that morals should not be influenced by how we feel but by fixed statements of duty. Kant rejected religion and the first position of Euthypro’s dilemma which is the idea that God is the source of all goodness therefore something is good because he commands it this is because he believed that this idea took away from human autonomy to decide what is right and wrong he also believed that all moral decisions should be made through rationality and reason. Reasoning is a universal concept practiced by all humans so he believed that we should all come to the same moral decisions.

He believed that for a moral act to be truly moral it must be done of our own free  will ‘ought’ ‘implies’ ‘can’ is the idea that we cannot be expected to perform a moral act we are incapable of which is what he believed some religious ideals asked of human beings.

He believed that all good actions should be born from Goodwill as it was the only objective, universal, intrinsically good concept. In order for our acts to be good our intentions and motives must be good. Good motives are in accordance with duty. We should not do good acts based on emotions because they are born of inclinations.

Kant used the example of the two grocers to illustrate idea of motives. One shop keeper is fair and…


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