Natural LawNatural Law
RevisionRevision
Links to AristotleLinks to Aristotle
Aristotle
 Empiricist/ scientist/
Father of formal logic.
 Everything in the natura...
Key pointsKey points
 Any action that is not performed with intention of achieving final cause = morally wrong.
Action it...
Human Law: our everyday rules ‘Don't walk on
the grass.’
Natural Law: It directs our conscience
and if applied with reason...
Primary PreceptsPrimary Precepts
 There are laws orThere are laws or PreceptsPrecepts built into naturebuilt into nature
...
Secondary PreceptsSecondary Precepts
 Each primary precept can be developed intoEach primary precept can be developed int...
Exam answer structureExam answer structure
Outline the 5
primary precepts.
(Try remember
no. 1 and 2 in
correct order and
...
Doctrine of Double EffectDoctrine of Double Effect
Answer is yesAnswer is yes
Answer is noAnswer is no
 Is the action/ ...
 Final cause or ultimate purpose of sex is =Final cause or ultimate purpose of sex is =
ReproductionReproduction
““The Ch...
StrengthsStrengths
 Based on reason – so technically open to anyone who can reason.Based on reason – so technically open ...
WeaknessesWeaknesses
 How do you decide what ‘natural’ is? E.g. should doctors try to
prolong the life of someone who is ...
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Natural Law (OCR exam board)

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Natural Law (OCR exam board)

  1. 1. Natural LawNatural Law RevisionRevision
  2. 2. Links to AristotleLinks to Aristotle Aristotle  Empiricist/ scientist/ Father of formal logic.  Everything in the natural world has a purpose  Human telos to reach eudaimonia.  Reason is the way to work out this purpose. AquinasAquinas  Aquinas inspired by Aristotle's ideas of purpose  Human purpose is to become God like = perfection.  This is done by using reason ‘gift from god.’  Reason can be used to find out what God wants through the workings of nature.  Combine science (of Aristotle) and Faith
  3. 3. Key pointsKey points  Any action that is not performed with intention of achieving final cause = morally wrong. Action itself is important, not the consequences = Deontological. Aquinas wanted to avoid the Divine Command Theory (wanted a universal theory open to everyone) = Natural Law. This argues that: 1. Nature decides what is right and wrong 2. God made nature but it works on its own Reason: 1. Reason given by God as a gift 2. Reason = works out purpose or telos. 3. Reason = helps us to work out good from bad (bad does not reach telos) Atheism:  God made it possible for all human beings to achieve their ultimate purpose = reason alone, no religious faith!!  But using reason + the word of God (combining Natural Law with Divine law) = easier to reach God.
  4. 4. Human Law: our everyday rules ‘Don't walk on the grass.’ Natural Law: It directs our conscience and if applied with reason to a situation will lead to the right action. Divine Law: Bible ‘Word of God.’ Church transmits Divine Law to people. Eternal Law: Mind of God. Humans can glimpse reflections of it ‘Hierarchy moral code’  To work out ‘telos/ purpose’To work out ‘telos/ purpose’ of an action to see ifof an action to see if ethically good =ethically good = casuistry.casuistry.  ““Real GoodsReal Goods” trying to fit” trying to fit with perfection.with perfection.  ““Apparent GoodsApparent Goods”” something that seems goodsomething that seems good but does not fit the perfectbut does not fit the perfect human ideal.human ideal.  ““Exterior actsExterior acts” –” – physicalphysical actionsactions  ““Interior actsInterior acts” –” – intention/thoughtsintention/thoughts.. Key words:Key words:
  5. 5. Primary PreceptsPrimary Precepts  There are laws orThere are laws or PreceptsPrecepts built into naturebuilt into nature  These precepts can be understood using reason.These precepts can be understood using reason.  In order for people to be able to concentrate on NaturalIn order for people to be able to concentrate on Natural Law, you need to live in a civilised society were you areLaw, you need to live in a civilised society were you are free to survive and flourishfree to survive and flourish This lead to Five Primary Precepts: (why called Primary?)This lead to Five Primary Precepts: (why called Primary?) 1.1. Preservation of innocent lifePreservation of innocent life (what does each mean? i.e all life is(what does each mean? i.e all life is sacred and must be protected)sacred and must be protected) 2.2. ReproductionReproduction 3.3. EducationEducation 4.4. Ordered societyOrdered society 5.5. Worship GodWorship God
  6. 6. Secondary PreceptsSecondary Precepts  Each primary precept can be developed intoEach primary precept can be developed into secondary precepts which aresecondary precepts which are practicalpractical humanhuman rules thatrules that govern our daily behaviourgovern our daily behaviour..  Whilst primary precepts are set in stoneWhilst primary precepts are set in stone  secondary precepts vary from the law of the landsecondary precepts vary from the law of the land to accepted codes of behaviour within families.to accepted codes of behaviour within families.  This makes the secondary preceptsThis makes the secondary precepts realisticrealistic andand quitequite flexibleflexible..
  7. 7. Exam answer structureExam answer structure Outline the 5 primary precepts. (Try remember no. 1 and 2 in correct order and no.5) 1. Explain why each Primary Precept is important? 2.Why have these been selected by Aquinas? Link every Primary Precept to a secondary precept example. Make clear that while PP are set in stone that secondary are flexible to the specific situation. 1. What do the terms ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ mean? 2. What do they imply? 3. What is the meaning of precept? Step 1. Meaning Step 2. What are the PP? Step 3. Why each PP so important? Step 4. Link each PP to SP
  8. 8. Doctrine of Double EffectDoctrine of Double Effect Answer is yesAnswer is yes Answer is noAnswer is no  Is the action/ intention good?Is the action/ intention good?  Is there a possible bad outcome?Is there a possible bad outcome?  Is the outcome intended?Is the outcome intended?  Can the outcome be avoided?Can the outcome be avoided? = DoDE is met = not morally responsible for outcome Always wrong to do bad intentionally to bring about good (bad to do good = wrong) BUT sometimes good actions bring about bad consequences However the bad is ONLY unintended side effects. Bad consequences foreseen but not intended.
  9. 9.  Final cause or ultimate purpose of sex is =Final cause or ultimate purpose of sex is = ReproductionReproduction ““The Church ... in urging men to the observance of the precepts ofThe Church ... in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law ....teaches as absolutely required that any usethe natural law ....teaches as absolutely required that any use whatsoever of marriage must retain its natural potential towhatsoever of marriage must retain its natural potential to procreate human life.” Pope Paul VIprocreate human life.” Pope Paul VI  Any attempt to interfere with the telos of sex is morally wrong=Any attempt to interfere with the telos of sex is morally wrong=  Intercourse between same sex personsIntercourse between same sex persons  Intercourse with a person too young for child-bearingIntercourse with a person too young for child-bearing  MasturbationMasturbation  All contraceptionAll contraception  Anything ‘unnatural’ = artificially engineered they interfere inAnything ‘unnatural’ = artificially engineered they interfere in the process of conception.the process of conception. SexSex
  10. 10. StrengthsStrengths  Based on reason – so technically open to anyone who can reason.Based on reason – so technically open to anyone who can reason.  Nature: universally experiencedNature: universally experienced  Links in with science and purposeLinks in with science and purpose  Christian version (Thomas Aquinas) unites faith with reasonChristian version (Thomas Aquinas) unites faith with reason Strengths of Primary Precepts:Strengths of Primary Precepts:  Absolute universal rules– applies same principle to everyone equallyAbsolute universal rules– applies same principle to everyone equally  Easy to understand – should be accessible to everyoneEasy to understand – should be accessible to everyone  Should be simple to find answers to ethical dilemmas as based on somethingShould be simple to find answers to ethical dilemmas as based on something more concrete than personal opinion.more concrete than personal opinion.  Timeless – still relevant todayTimeless – still relevant today Strengths of Secondary Precepts:Strengths of Secondary Precepts:  Allows for flexibilityAllows for flexibility  Applies to modern day examplesApplies to modern day examples
  11. 11. WeaknessesWeaknesses  How do you decide what ‘natural’ is? E.g. should doctors try to prolong the life of someone who is ill, when death is the natural consequence of much illness?  Some principles of N.L when applied can lead to absurd conclusions e.g. Elderly/ infertile couples cannot have sex  Nature changes – evolution = so does natural law change too? If so how can the laws be absolute?  Discounts emotion  Doctrine of Double Effect could make things complicated – how do you weigh up good and bad effects – could come down to personal opinion.  Karl Barth – theologian – reason is fallible – untrustworthy- should rely on Divine revelation in scripture for right and wrong.  Kai Nielsen –Human nature alters over cultural relativism and moral standards in society.
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