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

Natural Law Explain the theory of Natural Law.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Natural Law Explain the theory of Natural Law. A basic definition of natural law is that it is the moral code which human beings are naturally inclined towards. We know that there are certain scientific laws which are constant throughout history and throughout the world. (For instance, the law of gravity or the Newton's Law.) This principle is the same for natural law. It can be said that natural law can be discovered by the individual with the use of both observation and reason; we observe people behaving in the same way every time and use our reason to work out answers which people all over the world have also come up with. Reason is needed to discover the purpose that God gave to his people. Christianity supports the theory of natural law strongly and has created much interest from Christian philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas picked up and developed the idea of natural law from Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher. Aquinas believed that the use of reason by humanity originated from God, therefore implying that faith and reason are needed for a person to live in accordance with natural law; one should not follow God (or any other superior being that one may hold belief in) ...read more.

Middle

"Reason is used to discover God's intention and purpose of humanity and this will enable one to arrive at the principles of natural law." (The Puzzle of Ethics) Within the concept of natural law come the ideas of efficient and final cause. Natural law describes not only how things are but how they ought to be. The efficient cause is the agent which brings something about. For example, the person who creates a statue and the work he puts in which causes the statue to exist. It is what we normally call "cause." The final cause, on the other is the reason behind the sculptor's mind. Why did he carve at a particular point and at that angle? The answer is "in order to create a beautiful piece of art". Final cause is the purpose or aim that explains why the sculpture is as it is. This ties in with natural law, as final cause is the purpose that objects or people need to fulfil in order to be good. Aquinas' version of these ideas from Aristotle is called "potentiality and actuality." ...read more.

Conclusion

Although natural law is a very good way of life for people, it can also be seen to have some weaknesses. For example, it might be possible to argue that humanity may share some basic moral ideas, but these may not extend as far as generalities such as "killing is mainly wrong." This raises the question "do humans have a common nature?" Also, natural law is based on God. Does this mean that an Atheist cannot believe in and practise natural law? Another weakness is that reason can be used to plan evil as well as good. This would mean that people could justify evil acts with the pretence using their natural instincts. Natural law can also contradict common sense in some cases. A major weakness with natural law is that we can never be sure what God's purpose for humanity is, therefore, we can only guess how to achieve it and be good. To conclude, natural law is an instinctive sense of right and wrong which is developed by the individual. It involves using God's gift of reason to discover one's purpose (efficient cause) and fulfil it in order to do good (final cause). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law 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 GCSE Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explain the theory of natural law

    3 star(s)

    When things are fulfilling their natural purpose they are good, are unnatural when they are not, and therefore go against the wishes of God. For example; genitals are only good when they are fulfilling the reasons God made them - to reproduce and to get rid of urine.

  2. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    Therefore suggesting diminished responsibility (mental characteristics) The reason the courts are not willing to accept mental characteristics is that this would lead to a blurring of the distinctions between diminished responsibility and provocation. R v Dryden (1995) - Dryden built something and the local authorities were coming to take it down.

  1. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    because the chief engineer should have know that the discharge created a real risk of the oil on the water catching fire. Also if someone elects to take on a particular task, albeit he is not an expert or professional in the field, he will be expected to have the necessary degree of knowledge to complete the task competenly.

  2. Does Hart's theory differ to the 'gunman writ large' situation?

    indicates that they are operative reasons.5' Thus, when I say "you ought to x because of the rule y", I am asserting a reason for action. The problem that Hart amongst others seeks to respond to is the differentiating of these rules from other reasons for action.

  1. Worlds Apart: Orientalism, Antifeminism, and Heresy in Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale

    as generative, Augustine argues. Woman was created to help Adam beget children, and woman's role in generation is passive, opposite from and inferior to man's active role. Therefore, woman is different from (less perfect than) man, regardless of the cotemporality of their creation.

  2. LAND LAW

    Cohabiting couples' interests are governed by general property law although the courts have tried to achieve an equitable result for cohabitees using the notion of implied, resulting or constructive trusts, possible contractual claims and the doctrine of proprietary estoppel. Angelica may have a beneficial interest in 'Hanging Gardens' under either a resulting or a constructive trust.

  1. The Law Relating to Negotiable Instruments

    No person in India other than the Reserve Bank or the Central Government can draw or accept a bill of exchange 'payable to bearer on demand.' 3. A check 'payable to bearer on demand' can be drawn on a person's account with a banker.

  2. Property, Liberty, and the Law

    The original law was repealed in 1793, under the direction of then-Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson. The new law granted patents to the inventor who exhibited a "new and useful art, machine, (-3-) Bradley & Quirk manufacture or composition of matter and any new and useful improvement on any art, machine, manufacture or composition of matter."

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