What does 'natural' mean in Natural Moral Law

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What does “natural” mean in Natural Law?

        The “Natural Law” originated from Aristotle’s idea that everything in the world has a purpose, revealed in its design, and that it’s supreme “good” is to be sought in fulfilling that purpose. Natural law is not simply about what nature does, but it is based on nature as interpreted by human reason. Natural Law does not necessarily give you straightforward and unbending answers to everything. It involves interpreting certain situations, and can be applied in a flexible way. It does not simply present a fixed ‘law’ dictated by nature.

        Natural Law originated from Aristotle, who argued that everything had a purpose or goal to which it aimed. He argued that everything had four causes, but he mainly concentrated on the Final Cause. Once you knew what something was for, and you knew how it should behave then you can tell whether that thing is good or not. A knife is designed for cutting, if it does that well then it can be classified as a ‘good’ knife because it fulfils its purpose and lives in accordance with its nature. For example a pen, that isn’t used for what it should be used, writing, it is not considered as a ‘good’ pen because it doesn’t live in accordance with itself, and its nature, as it does not do what it was designed to do. A pen that does what it was originally made for, is living naturally, fulfilling its final cause. Also a human being that doesn’t try to achieve eudaimonia, is not seeing as a ‘good’ thing, as it doesn’t live in accordance with what it should be doing, trying to achieve happiness by living well and doing well. According to Aristotle when we fulfil our purpose, we don’t just do it to live in accordance with our nature, but also to live a moral life. For example a lion eats other animals, because it has to survive, this is a moral act for the animal, as it does so to live in accordance with its nature, or in other words, to live naturally. Aristotle believed that natural justice is independent and applies to everyone no matter where they live or what they do; ”The Natural is that which everywhere is equally valid, and depends not upon being received…that which is natural is unchangeable, and has the same power everywhere, just as fire burns here and in Persia.”

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        The Stoics similarly to Aristotle believed that everything in the Universe was ordered, but that it made no sense to seek happiness as the goal of life, because things do not always turn out as we plan them, and due to this we may become disillusioned. The Stoics believed that the natural way to respond to this sense of universal order was to act with honesty, aware of what part we play within the universe. The Stoics saw that the nature of a thing as its internal principle of change. So for them, an acorn would grown into an oak ...

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