• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. Analyse and explain the strengths and weaknesses of deontology

    However, Kant removes much of the feeling that his theory is uncompassionate with his second formulation of the categorical imperative, "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end."

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

    For example, if a woman was jogging through a park and came across a gang of men who raped her. Utilitarianism justifies their actions as the men's pleasure is far greater than the woman's and, as they are the majority, the woman's pain would not matter.

  1. Essay on Law vs. Justice

    From my viewpoint, acting in an ethical manner comes from each and every individual, each having learned from the environment in which they have grown and developed. This pertains to individuals and corporations. More and more organizations today are developing codes of ethics that they expect each employee to follow.

  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. Religious Studies - Ethics: Natural Moral Law

    It was believed by Aquinas that natural law exists to assist humans to act in such a way that they may reach their eternal destiny with God, and covers both the outward external view of actions and the internal motivation for doing so.

  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of Natural Law.

    which include pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth. Aquinas argued that the first priority laid down by natural law concerned 'self-preservation and the preservation of the innocent'. He also declared four additional 'primary precepts' including the 'continuation of the species through reproduction', the 'education of children', to 'live

  1. Free essay

    Explain What Is Meant By natural law

    is equally valid, and depends not upon being or not being received...' what Aristotle means here is that natural law exists whether or not we accept it , it will always be there for eternity. St Thomas Aquinas' theory of natural law was mainly influence by the works of Aristotle and Plato.

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

    This combines with the doctrine of double effect which refers to situations where there is an intended outcome which results in an unintended negative outcome. It is claimed that it is sometimes permissible to cause such harm as a side effect of bringing about a good result.

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