Natural Moral Law

Natural Moral Law is a universal deontological theory that basis itself as an objective and ideal to order human society. The term ‘Natural Law’ was introduced by Aristotle (384-322 BCE) in his ‘Nicomachaen Ethics.’ Those who accept natural law argue that all problems about defining ‘good’ can be resolved by discovering what is natural. From the time of the Ancient Greek philosophers to the present day Natural moral law remains one of the most powerful Ethical theories.

The Sophists argued that no one could violate the laws of nature. They believed that the ‘strong should dominate the weak.’ On the other hand Plato wrote in his ‘Republic’ that society be the hunters and the weaker to be doctors of the group. Aristotle and the Stoics believed that Natural Law cannot be changed it is by everybody and therefore can be universalised as a universal truth. The basis of natural law is that there is an objectively ideal way to be human and that it is by this ideal we measure our humanity. If our ideal was reached we would be completely happy, as we would have realised our maximum physical, spiritual and mental health. Natural law argues that reason and the law of the universe tells us what is good.

St. Thomas Aquinas a Christian philosopher of the 13th centaury argued that natural law was reflected in nature in a moral way, created by god. The thinking of Aristotle greatly influenced Thomas Aquinas; in particular all things have a purpose to which they work. In the ‘Summa Theologica’ Aquinas maintains that there is a natural moral law towards which humans beings naturally incline, that is accessible through the natural order, unchanging and given by God. The principles of natural law depend on establishing the primary purposes of human life.  Aquinas maintained that it is to live, reproduce, learn, worship God and order society. All things must operate in accordance with these principles to which man is naturally inclined. “ Men will fall short of God’s best for them because this is a fallen world and man violated the perfect relationship with God and the natural order that was instituted at creation” (Genesis 2 and 3).

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Aquinas argued that because God creates humans, they basically want ‘good’ things. It can be argues that humans can consciously wish to reject the ways in which God wishes them to live. However Aquinas appears to reject this he argued that people do not seek to do evil but they are mistaken in what they deem ‘good’ this is known as ‘apparent good’. Aquinas is prepared to concede that some humans desire what he terms ‘apparent good’ that is something which will gratify an immediate desire, but will ultimately lead humans away from the ultimate purpose of existence, this being ...

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