John Finnis, an Australian legal philosopher has tried to resurrect the natural law tradition in moral philosophy and law since the mid-1960s. He tries to offer a "neo-Aquinian" natural law philosophy which does not presuppose a divine being. By focusing attention on goods rather than a single Good, Finnis skilfully articulates what he calls a theory of moral action for our day. Or, in other words, he seeks a theory of how to live well. Finnis identifies a number of equally valuable basic goods or ends, given human nature, there are seven. Three are substantive, existing prior to action and four are reflexive which is depending on our choices.
The first is human life, including every aspect of vitality, such as health and procreation. The next two basic goods are knowledge and play or skilled performance. The fourth is Aesthetic appreciation; Finnis writes “which may be in the creation as well. So I may appreciate the art that I am painting as well as the painting I see in the gallery.” The next is sociability meaning at least peace and harmony but also, more than that, the full flowering of friendship. The sixth is practical reasonableness that is bringing your intelligence to bear on the moral decision that you face in life. The last of the seven basic goods is Religion, the recognition that all the basic goods are made possible by a higher intelligence.
Finnis proposes nine principles of practical reasonableness that are the ‘methods of operation’ rather than ‘end sought’. The principles are supposed to simplify decision making, and allow us to achieve the seven basic goods. The first principle of practical reasonableness is to have a rational plan of life; John Finnis believes that there is a reason for everything that someone does. A coherent life plan demands the harmonising of general purposes as effective commitments in one’s life. The second principle is no arbitrary preference among values Finnis notes that