Explain the Natural Law Theory

Topics: Morality, Natural law, Aristotle Pages: 3 (922 words) Published: November 27, 2013
Natural law is a theory that stretches across all cultures and ways of life. It is a universal theory that says there are definite rights and wrongs. For instance; taking human life is definitely wrong. In this respect, Natural Law is the parallel of Moral Relativism, as if you live by a Moral Relativism approach to ethics, then no actions are always right or always wrong. That is to be decided by the outcome of an action. 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...
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