Explain Natural Law Theory

Topics: Morality, Religion, Natural law Pages: 3 (1143 words) Published: January 16, 2013
Explain Natural Law theory
In this essay, I will discuss the theories behind Natural Law, as well as the qualities it is seen to possess. I will explain Aquinas’ concepts and theory on Natural Law, discussing eudaimonia and the doctrine of the double effect. Finally, I will reflect on some of the positive and negative aspects, in summarising Natural Law theory. It is important to highlight that Natural Laws differ from acts which occur naturally. There are many aspects to Natural Law, the first being the concept that it is absolute; therefore it includes set rules to follow. Thomas Aquinas believed that these rules were the primary precepts, along with the secondary precepts, which are obtained from natural morality within humans. Natural Law is also seen as absolute for atheists, as they believe, through the ability to reason, humans can determine the most ethical thing to do. The second aspect of Natural Law is that it is considered deontological; therefore it focuses on the intent behind an action, rather than the final outcome. Although Natural Law’ has a deontological focus, it also involves aspects that are teleological, because one of the main concepts behind Natural Law theory, argues that everything has an end purpose to be fulfilled. In Natural law the ultimate purpose for humans is to reach eudaimonia, which is the highest state of happiness, and this must be done through all activities. Although some followers of Natural Laws are in fact atheists, the main theology behind Natural Law is that God created the universe with a specific order and that everything has an objective to satisfy in life. The belief is that in order to live a morally ‘good’ life, humans must follow the Natural Law, and that it would be unethical not to do so. The foundation philosophy for Natural Law was put forward by Aristotle; however this theory was later developed by Thomas Aquinas, who merged his religious beliefs in God with Natural Law. Aquinas thought every human...
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