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Explain Natural Law

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´╗┐Explain Natural Law The natural law approach to morality states that there is a natural order to our world that should be followed, determined by a supernatural power, and has a long history. The earliest theory of Natural Law originated from the Stoics, who believed there was a fundamental design and purpose to the universe (the Logos) and that recognition of this is the basis of morality. Cicero recognized that ?true law is right reason in agreement with nature?. In the 13th century Aquinas used the ideas from the Stoics and Aristotle, who viewed that everything has a final cause, and it is supremely good to fulfill this, to give an adaption of Natural Law to underpin Christianity in his book Summa Theologica, which is now the basis or Roman Catholic moral theology. Thomas Aquinas noticed that ?When nature is observed there seem to be certain laws? ordained by God?. He argued that God created the world with a purpose in mind. He felt that by using our essential rational nature given by God, we can discover this purpose, and judge how to act to fulfill it and thus flourish. ...read more.


However, if one does not believe in God, there is no reason to assume there may be a final cause, and no reason to establish the morality of an action in terms of its final cause. Aquinas developed the primary and secondary precepts to help humans follow the natural law and please God, to help them move from their potentiality to their actuality. Five primary precepts were written, objective rules that must be met: Self preservation and preservation of innocent, living in society, worship of God, education and continuation of species. Many secondary precepts consequently feed off of these, such as do not murder, do not commit suicide. These precepts protect the sanctity of life. For example, the rights of an embryo to not be aborted or tested on are protected by the precept continuation of species and protection of innocent. If the precepts are followed, bi products of four cardinal virtues are produced: prudence (wisdom), justice, temperance (self control) and fortitude (patience). If the precepts are not followed, seven deadly sins will appear in ones character. Unlike Augustine and other Christian reformers, Aquinas did not consider human nature to be corrupted. ...read more.


Natural Law allows the Doctrine of Double Effect. Here, an intent to do good that may bring about a bad exterior act is permitted. A teenage girl is allowed to be given contraceptive pills to ease period pains, even though it may prevent her from getting pregnant. Or for example, a pregnant mother with cancer- the real good is carrying out the precept of self-preservation with chemotherapy. If the baby dies during this, it is simply a result of carrying out the real good. Proportionalism, later adapted by Hoose, holds that there are certain moral rules, and that it can never be right to go against these unless there is a proportionate reason, which would justify it. Revisionists maintain that the veil in acts such as contraception or even killing is not moral evil, but a pre-moral evil which can be justified for a proportionate reason. If a tyrannical dictator is ruling a country, where precepts are being flouted then there are proportionate reasons to go to war or use violence to bring about change. This is an important part of Just War Theory, which grew out of upholding the precepts, stating that it is right to go to war if necessary. ...read more.

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