• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how Aquinass theory of Natural Law can be used to decide on the right course of action. (25 Marks)

Extracts from this document...


Explain how Aquinas's theory of Natural Law can be used to decide on the right course of action. (25 Marks) Natural Moral Law includes those ethical theories which state that there is a natural order to our world that should be followed. This natural order is determined by some supernatural power. Natural Law originated in the philosophy of Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and was developed by Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274). It is an absolute theory of ethics that is rooted in our human nature and our search for genuine happiness and fulfilment. Aquinas used the ideas of Aristotle and the Stoics as an underpinning for Natural Law that: * Human beings have an essential rational nature given by God in order for us to live and flourish. ...read more.


the bible. Aquinas thought that god had instilled in all humans (intrinsic) inclinations to behave in a certain way which leads us to the highest good and, by using our reason, we can discover the precepts (laws) which express God's Natural Law built into us. Aquinas saw the primary precepts of Natural Law as always true and applying to everybody without exception because we all have this innate nature, and as they are a direct reflection of God's Eternal Law i.e. the principles by which God made and controls the universe which are only fully known by God. The primary precepts are as follows: * The preservation of life * Reproduction * The nurture and education of the young * Living peacefully in society * To worship God These primary precepts are always true in that they point us in the right direction and are necessary for human flourishing. ...read more.


IVF The most fundamental intrinsic inclination for humans, according to Aquinas is to act in such a way as to achieve good and avoid evil. Aquinas saw in fact humans do not always behave like this and explained this by saying that we got things wrong and followed apparent good i.e. something we think is good but in reality does not fit the perfect human ideal for example if someone has an affair they do not intend to hurt their partner but because they think there 'in love' than this is the right thing to do. In order to work out what is a real good and what is an apparent good we need to use our reason correctly and choose the right thing to do, ('right use of reason' as Aquinas called it) to work out what to do. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explain how Benthams version of Utilitarianism can be used to decide the best course ...

    3 star(s)

    This is because the suffering to be had by the one victim of the gang rape is overpowered by the pleasure to be had by the rapists, simply because there are more of them. We are led to this conclusion when there is a sufficient number of rapists, as it

  2. What are the principles of natural law? Every adult has the right to become ...

    This idea was developed by Finnis, who proposed seven basic goods: life, knowledge, play, aesthetic experience, friendship, practical reasonableness and spirituality or 'religion'. These goods are our purpose and aim; however, sometimes the purposes can be ambiguous. One could condemn sex with contraception on the grounds that the purpose of

  1. Natural law is the most reliable approach when making judgements about sex and relationships. ...

    Hence homosexual couples will not follow this rule when having sex with one another as for this impossible for them and hence natural law is against same couple sex as this can never result in the birth of a baby.

  2. Explain Moral Absolutism. [25] Moral absolutism is a deontological view that certain actions ...

    Devout Catholics follow the absolutist view of natural law. It is the ethical belief that belief that if you follow something's natural purpose then it is fulfilling its goal and is right and just. They believe that natural order is determined by some supernatural power and therefore you must follow this.

  1. Sartre is a very strong proponent of strong determinism, that is, he does not ...

    In this sense, determinism and indeterminism both seem to lead to the same dead end, the conclusion since we do not have any true empirical control. The indeterminist then posits that the external world is not actually independent of human perception.

  2. Discuss the concept of Natural Law with reference to the ideas of Aristotle and ...

    Our most fundamental inclination, as believed by Aquinas, is to live our lives so we achieve what is good and avoid what is evil. The five precepts come from our other inclinations. Like all things that exist we seek survival so must preserve innocent human life and we must reproduce and educate children to ?preserve the species?.

  1. What is Natural Law (Religious Studies A Level 30 Marks)

    The soul of animals is a Sensitive soul which is capable of growth, reproduction and movement. But the third soul type was the human soul, known as the Rational soul which has all of the above, but also the ability to reason.

  2. Explain, with examples, Aquinas' theory or natural law

    The primary precepts are also absolutist - Aquinas believed we were all made by God with a human purpose that we all have. There are two types of theory. There is the absolute theory which is the belief that there are objective moral rules which are true in all situations.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work