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Natural Law

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 543
  • Category: Law virtue

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Rational – Natural Law uses practical reason, it is a common-sense approach. Too simplistic – Humans do not have a single ‘fixed’ human nature. God – Doesn’t require belief in God, as it is based on empirical observations of our nature. God – Requires belief in God, as it relies on a God-given purpose Objective – Natural Law gives us rules that are true independently of our individual thoughts and desires. Outcomes – Leads to immoral outcomes e.g. not allowing contraception led to spread of AIDS and overpopulation in Africa Purpose – The world has meaning, purpose and values. Purpose – The idea of ‘purpose’ in nature can be explained by science (evolution and natural selection). Flexible – allows for secondary precepts to vary according to culture, as they are the practical working out of the universal primary precepts. Cultural Relativism – Neilsen questions the unchanging nature of Primary Precepts in Natural Law, using Cultural Relativism. Gareth Moore argues our nature is a product of culture and society. Double Effect – gets around problems of conflicting secondary precepts. Double Effect – brings in consequentialism through the back door. You are allowed to do some terrible things because of double effect, and at other times you can’t do really helpful things.

Instinctive – Natural Law’s rules are in line with our instincts and intuitions. Agape – Jesus was opposed to legalism, and broke rules in order to do the most loving thing. Virtues – Focuses on human virtues and excellence – the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, and theological virtues of faith, hope and charity Too optimistic – It has a too optimistic view of human nature. Augustine disagrees (original sin), as does Calvin (total depravity). Thriving – Helps humans achieve health, happiness, friendship etc. Unholistic – Vardy/Grosh – Aquinas’ view of human nature is unholistic and over-simplified All-encompassing – There are issues not covered in the Bible such as Genetics. Unreliable – Scripture is more reliable than reason, as reason leads to corruption. Human dignity – Values human life highly. Consequences – Doesn’t consider consequences. (Bernard Hoose and Proportionalism). Human Rights – Protects the absolute nature of Human Rights. Conflicting rules – As with any absolutist theory, what if two universal rules come into conflict with each other? Reliable – Predicting consequences is not reliable.

Natural Law gives us rules that we see in societies throughout the whole world e.g. Do not kill. Impractical – Predicting consequences works, and is the best way of deciding what will do the most good. Absolute – Our ‘post-modern’, secular society has lost all sense of objective values and truth. Pope Benedict calls this the ‘dictatorship of relativism’. Out-dated – Natural Law is stuck in the past, enforcing traditional views that are out of touch with 21st century society. This leads to homophobia, intolerance of other cultures etc. Autonomy – Natural Law allows the individual, using reason, to work out for themselves what is objectively right and true, not relying on religious authority, scripture or tradition. Naturalistic Fallacy – how we are is not the same as how we ought to be. Just because sex produces babies, this doesn’t mean that every act of sex ought to be open to procreation.

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