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

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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.

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