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

What is Natural Moral Law? What are the strengths and weaknesses of NML?

Extracts from this document...


Natural Moral Law What is Natural Moral Law? Natural law or the law of nature has been described as a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore is universal. As classically used, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behaviour. Philosopher, Aristotle stated that everything has a purpose. If we are to find something new of which we had no prior knowledge of we can always ask four vital questions. 1) What is it? 2) What is it made of? 3) How did it come to exist? 4) What is it used for? These questions enable us to prove that everything in the universe has purpose. He also discusses the hierarchy of purpose: Humans, Animals, Plants, Rain - everything in this hierarchy has a proper place and purpose. Philosopher Cicero famously said: 'The law will not lay down one rule in Rome and another in Athens...There is one law eternal and unchangeable, binding at all times on all people.' This quote shows Cicero's beliefs that there is one universal law which applies to everyone. ...read more.


He was an ethical naturalist and thus believed that it was possible to look at the things around us to see what we ought to do (Naturalistic Fallacy - drawing ethical conclusions from empirical observation). Aquinas tells us we should obey natural law. A seed planted in fertile ground that receives daylight and water will grow, therefore obeying natural law. However, humans are different from other things as we have free will. We should try and reach our potential by deciding what we think is right. In conclusion, the natural law is the rule of conduct which is prescribed to us by the Creatorin the constitution of the nature with which He has endowed us. What are the strengths and weaknesses of NML? There are many strengths and weaknesses to Natural law. This essay will discuss both and reach an informed conclusion. I will begin with the advantages: The first advantage to Natural law is that it appeals to the intrinsic idea of right and wrong. From a young age we have all remarked the phrase, 'it's not fair' - this is because we know an unjust action has taken place. ...read more.


But how could you possibly follow both potentials - they contradict. Additionally, Natural law is heavily reliant upon Aquinas' statement that everybody will always know what's right and wrong. However this is incorrect - in Natural Moral Law God has different purposes for different people - so what is natural and what isn't? Even if we did know - not everybody would follow it. Some people acknowledge that they are doing wrong but are apathetic. Finally, it is key to note the problem between NML and Darwin's theory of evolution. Evolution, does not talk about NML - you do not act how you should, there is no sense of right and wrong. You simply act to survive. This follows Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' theory. In conclusion, the weaknesses clearly outweigh the strengths to Natural Moral Law. It is clear to say that the theory has many flaws and little strength. Modern portfolio thinking tends to suggest that we have changing function, so just as laws and society changes, so does our purpose (and thus our morality). In this sense natural law is very inflexible and perhaps even pretentious is suggesting it has a theory which is universally applicable, eternal and accessible to all. ?? ?? ?? ?? Uzma Tariq 13-06 R.S Essay ...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 Practical Questions 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 Practical Questions essays

  1. Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Kants Ethical Theory

    This is an imperative strength of the theory. Another essential strength of the theory is to do with bad actions, such as murder, rape, adultery; these are clearly bad in this approach. I.e. a man could easily argue that extra-marital sex is ok with a married woman, because he "loves" her and her husband does not.

  2. Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of natural moral law as a definitive ...

    Nielson goes on to say that Natural law obscures these basic moral differences that exist between human societies. There is also the possibility that a natural law does exist, but it is more complex than Aquinas believed. For example, Aquinas ruled homosexual activity as un-natural as it does not lead

  1. Analyse and explain the strengths and weaknesses of deontology

    This view may be argued to be guilty of GE Moore's naturalistic fallacy ; just because something is the case or because human nature is a certain way, does not give moral justification to such a state of affairs. It is not obvious, apart from intuitively, why we should not divorce emotion from moral decisions.

  2. Critically examine what is meant by natural moral law.

    In the same way the husband's body does not only belong to him but to his wife." (Corinthians ch6 v 2-4) Lastly the significance of faith in God has considerable significance in his writings. Unlike some philosophers that share similar ideas to Aquinas, he did not consider that human nature was totally corrupted.

  1. Examine the key features of utilitarianism and its strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism

    To explain this, an example could be that there is a bus crash. You can only get one person out of the bus and your mum is stuck on the bus but there is also a scientist who, in his mind, has the cure for cancer, but it is your prima facie duty to save your mother.

  2. Essay on Law vs. Justice

    Too often, though, ethics is not practiced enough. Many organizations only get interested in ethics after something has gone wrong. They start well on the back foot and often have difficulty turning the culture around. Even the positive step of creating an ethical climate can be short-lived if it does not address the residual emotional issues that result

  1. natural law

    invisible nature, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made." (Romans 1:20) In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus observes that natural law should make it clear that divorce is wrong, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wife, but from the beginning it was not so."

  2. Natural Moral Law - in theory and in practice.

    Aquinas believed that our conscience is what distinguishes humans from animals as we are made in the image of God ?imago dei.? Human law are the rules that are made by human societies in order for them to work successfully.

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