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Explain how Aquinass theory of Natural Law can be used to decide on the right course of action. (25 Marks)

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Explain how Aquinas's theory of Natural Law can be used to decide on the right course of action. (25 Marks) Natural Moral Law includes those ethical theories which state that there is a natural order to our world that should be followed. This natural order is determined by some supernatural power. Natural Law originated in the philosophy of Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and was developed by Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274). It is an absolute theory of ethics that is rooted in our human nature and our search for genuine happiness and fulfilment. Aquinas used the ideas of Aristotle and the Stoics as an underpinning for Natural Law that: * Human beings have an essential rational nature given by God in order for us to live and flourish. ...read more.


the bible. Aquinas thought that god had instilled in all humans (intrinsic) inclinations to behave in a certain way which leads us to the highest good and, by using our reason, we can discover the precepts (laws) which express God's Natural Law built into us. Aquinas saw the primary precepts of Natural Law as always true and applying to everybody without exception because we all have this innate nature, and as they are a direct reflection of God's Eternal Law i.e. the principles by which God made and controls the universe which are only fully known by God. The primary precepts are as follows: * The preservation of life * Reproduction * The nurture and education of the young * Living peacefully in society * To worship God These primary precepts are always true in that they point us in the right direction and are necessary for human flourishing. ...read more.


IVF The most fundamental intrinsic inclination for humans, according to Aquinas is to act in such a way as to achieve good and avoid evil. Aquinas saw in fact humans do not always behave like this and explained this by saying that we got things wrong and followed apparent good i.e. something we think is good but in reality does not fit the perfect human ideal for example if someone has an affair they do not intend to hurt their partner but because they think there 'in love' than this is the right thing to do. In order to work out what is a real good and what is an apparent good we need to use our reason correctly and choose the right thing to do, ('right use of reason' as Aquinas called it) to work out what to do. ...read more.

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