Explain what is meant by Natural Law approach to ethics? Natural Law is an ethical theory which states that there are unchanging laws set in the nature of the world, to tell humans what is moral and immoral. These laws are set by a supernatural power which is God. Natural Law is a Deontological theory which looks at the action to be moral despite the consequences it brings. The theory of Natural Law has been around for centuries and has had many key figures that have made key contributions to the theory.
The first was a group of Greek philosophers called stoics and the Greek philosopher Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas in he ninth century. The Stoics created the idea of natural law, stating that humans have within them a divine spark which helps them to live accordingly to Gods will. Although we as humans have the choice to obey these laws or not we still understand and use our divine spark which is reasoning to decide whether to obey these natural laws. Aristotle continued this idea by saying everything has a purpose and we can fulfill supreme goodness when we fulfill our purpose.
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For example the purpose of a knife is to cut. When a knife cuts sharply and efficiently it has reached its supreme goodness. Humans supreme goodness is to be happy by flourishing and by living a life of reason which links to the stoics divine spark theory. “Reason is the true self of every man, since it is the supreme and better part reason is the highest sense of a man’s self” Thomas Aquinas was very much influenced by Aristotle writing, and used his theories and his own to create what we now refer to as natural law.
Aquinas stated that believing in God is irrelevant as reason can still be used to lead to a human flourishing. He also was the one that stated that Natural law is universal and has unchangeable laws. Aquinas believed we were designed for one reason which was perfection as we are created in Gods image and therefore should achieve good and avoid evil. However if we as humans commit a bad action then we are not evil we are Just mislead. He backs up his point of perfection and humans being purely good by stating there are different versions of good, apparent good and real good.
Apparent good is which seems good or the right thing but does not fit our perfect ideal and real good does fit our human ideal. We figure the two out by using our greatest skill which is reasoning. The key example of this is an affair, as the errors do not commit adultery to hurt there partner but because they think they are in love. This at first may seem good, but using reasoning is clear that the person has been misled as it is seen in society and the Lords eyes as wrong. Aquinas also contributed to fundamental principles of Natural law on how to live our life, called primary and secondary concepts.
The primary Concepts are ; The Preservation of Life Reproduction The Nature And Education Of The Young Living Peacefully in Society To Worship God necessary for humans to flourish. The secondary concepts need more then reasoning UT need wisdom and experience as well, as they dependent on our own Judgment on what to do in a given situation. The secondary Concepts are also worked out from the primary concepts The strict application of Natural Law goes against common sense? Discuss To Some extent the laws of this theory do not go against common sense.
This is due to the basic principles of Natural Law are common principles in all cultures and religions such as preserving human life and learning and living in a society. It is therefore not contradicting common sense as it could be seen as the same thing. However on the other hand it could be seen as going against common sense as it has similar principles as the Catholic Church. As Catholics disagree with a lot of non-religious views and actions, Natural Law contradicts the majority of the population and their views on common sense.
Again going against the statement, Natural Law says that we require flourishing as humans which involves great health and lots of friends in your community. All these things are common sense on what we want to achieve in life and therefore have the same qualities as common sense. However contradicting this statement, only having one objective in life which is to lorries, is too simplistic and to old fashioned as people in these times strive for physical belongings such as money clothes and luxury homes more and more and less on things such as community’s.
Having these things is common sense and contradicts Natural Law and its principles. Finally Natural Law allows society’s to have clear common rules and to organism a moral life together. However some people’s common sense is to stick to their own kind and ethnic color as seen in modern tabloids. In my opinion I believe Natural Law does go against Common sense and this is for several reasons.
Firstly I believe some principles of Natural Law we as humans and as a whole community connotative up to such us living peacefully in society which cannot become a principle of common sense while factors such as racism and a gap between the rich and the poor still exist which in my opinion is a shame. However some principles of Natural Theory I believe are not logical and cannot exist in everyone’s common sense like to all worship God, as I believe it is someone’s right to choose what to believe in as long as they do not try to influence or force other people of their own opinion.