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Explain Aquinas Natural Law theory (25 marks)

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain Aquinas? Natural Law theory (25 marks) Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century monk who studied Aristotle?s philosophy. He developed his Natural Law from these studies. Natural law is an absolute, deontological theory which states that morals are issued by God to nature. It includes 5 primary precepts of which Aquinas believed were the basis of living a moral life. The Natural Law, as applied to the case of human beings, requires greater precision because of the fact that we have reason and free will. It is the of nature humans to act freely (i.e. to be provident for ourselves and others) ...read more.

Middle

From this he made 5 assumptions: Everything in nature has a purpose; God created all nature; failure to develop nature to do its purpose is an imperfection; God?s moral laws can be known through reasoning; and natural law is part of God?s divine plan. To summarise, there are certain laws of nature that we should follow in order to become perfect and reach our purpose/final cause. The primary precepts are as follows: preservation of life, living in an ordered society, worshipping God, education and reproduction. According to Aquinas, our actions must always conform to these precepts. For example, abortion, suicide and murder are all wrong because they all go again the precept of preserving life. ...read more.

Conclusion

One example would be if a pregnant woman has cancer and the only way to save her would be for the doctor to perform a hysterectomy. This would kill the unborn child but save the mother, rather than them both dying. Natural Law says that it would be acceptable for the doctor to perform the hysterectomy because the act in itself is not wrong and the intentions of the doctor are not evil. The death of the unborn child is an unintended side effect. To conclude, Natural Law is a deontological absolute theory that states that we should all follow the 5 primary precepts. Acts that follow the primary precepts are secondary precepts. However in some cases the doctrine of double effect can be used to justify an action which has bad consequences. ...read more.

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