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What does 'natural' mean in Natural Moral Law

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Introduction

What does "natural" mean in Natural Law? The "Natural Law" originated from Aristotle's idea that everything in the world has a purpose, revealed in its design, and that it's supreme "good" is to be sought in fulfilling that purpose. Natural law is not simply about what nature does, but it is based on nature as interpreted by human reason. Natural Law does not necessarily give you straightforward and unbending answers to everything. It involves interpreting certain situations, and can be applied in a flexible way. It does not simply present a fixed 'law' dictated by nature. Natural Law originated from Aristotle, who argued that everything had a purpose or goal to which it aimed. He argued that everything had four causes, but he mainly concentrated on the Final Cause. Once you knew what something was for, and you knew how it should behave then you can tell whether that thing is good or not. A knife is designed for cutting, if it does that well then it can be classified as a 'good' knife because it fulfils its purpose and lives in accordance with its nature. ...read more.

Middle

Aristotle believed that natural justice is independent and applies to everyone no matter where they live or what they do; "The Natural is that which everywhere is equally valid, and depends not upon being received...that which is natural is unchangeable, and has the same power everywhere, just as fire burns here and in Persia." The Stoics similarly to Aristotle believed that everything in the Universe was ordered, but that it made no sense to seek happiness as the goal of life, because things do not always turn out as we plan them, and due to this we may become disillusioned. The Stoics believed that the natural way to respond to this sense of universal order was to act with honesty, aware of what part we play within the universe. The Stoics saw that the nature of a thing as its internal principle of change. So for them, an acorn would grown into an oak tree, given the right circumstances, because it has an inner principle which directs its growth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Natural Law claims that we should use our reason, something that comes to us naturally, to examine the place and purpose that everything has. Natural Law claims that we should use our reason to examine the place and purpose that everything has within the Universe, and act in a way that reflects that understanding. It is not a utilitarian assessing of results or pleasing a majority, it is not based on intuitions or emotions, but on reason. A moral life is a life lived according to and in accordance with reason. "To disparage the dictate of reason is equivalent to condemning the command of God." From this Aquinas gathered that humans should do good and avoid evil, in accordance with their nature. Through this we can see that living in accordance with our nature, also means that we live morally. Therefore in a way the word 'natural' in Natural Law can also mean moral, because by fulfilling out final causes, we are living a 'good' life, or in other words a moral life. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aleks Plesniak ...read more.

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