Good Notes on Natural Law

Topics: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Metaphysics Pages: 2 (401 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Natural Law
The angles in a triangle will always add up to 180 degreesThere seem to be laws governing how the world works – the angles of a triangle always add up to 180 degrees. We believe these laws are universal and will be applied just the same in the past/present/future. Some people believe this is also true for morality – right and wrong, good and evil, follow a “natural law” which is universal and never changes. This is therefore an absolutist ethical theory. Origins

Aristotelian ideas: In Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle wrote:
“That which is natural is unchangeable, and has the same power everywhere, just as fire burns both here and in Persia” Cicero:“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting” Aristotle’s causes: The efficient cause brings about the end; the final cause is something’s reason for existence St Paul:A law that is “written in the hearts” of Gentiles Aquinas and Natural Law

Thomas Aquinas (13th Century), in his Summa Theologica, combined Aristotle’s ideas of cause and purpose with his own Christian beliefs that everything exists for a reason, coming to the conclusion that God brought everything into existence for a purpose: Aristotle said something could be called good if it fulfilled its purpose Aquinas said something could be called good if it did what God intended it to To find out what God wants us to do we can look at the Bible and church teaching, and apply reason. Aquinas put forward the primary precepts, which he believed to be the main natural purposes of human existence. They are absolute: Self-preservation and preservation of the innocent

Continuation of the species through reproduction
Education of children
Living in an ordered society
Worshipping God
The secondary precepts are things we should not do because they go against the primary precepts, e.g. homosexual relationships go against the primary precept for...
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