Explain the Theory of Natural Law

1808 Words Mar 18th, 2013 8 Pages
January 2001
Explain the theory of Natural law (25 marks)

The theory of natural law originates from Aristotle’s idea of goodness as fitness for purpose and stoic’s concept of a universal law of reason which is in agreement with nature. What we now call human nature. This point is then furthered by Aquinas who agrees with the argument but furthers it by linking it with his Christian belief by saying following this law is equivalent to following the command of God as human nature is in us inbuilt into us from when God created us.
Aristotle believed that every object has a specific purpose and function and that its supreme good is to fulfil that purpose. This includes humans, Aristotle believes that humans also have a purpose and function
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Aquinas didn’t think about circumstances and situations as he said the primary precepts are objectively true for everyone and that using our reason we can find the answer in every situation by using this principle making this absolute. It has since been updated by implementing the doctrine of double effect. This is idea that in some situations you have to do a bad action in order to achieve a good consequence. For example if a woman has cancer but is pregnant as well it is fine to give her chemotherapy as it will save her life even though it will kill her unborn foetus as the action or intention isn’t meant to kill the baby but to save the life of the mother.
The theory of natural law can be argued that it is out of date and should be updated with the ever developing world and our developing understanding of human nature. As previously it was acceptable for someone to kill one another however it goes against the precepts of preserving human life and to live in an ordered peaceful society. Also the idea of using contraception in order to prevent the spreading of STD’s and HIV/AIDS not to prevent the production of a child but as it goes against the precept of reproduction its wrong.
Overall the concept of natural law is to establish a standard of morality which is independent of Gods will as Gods will is shown through eternal law which is where

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