Natural Moral Law and Decisions (Matthew Green)

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a) Explain how Natural Moral Law theory can be used to help us decide what the right moral action is (25 marks) Natural Moral Law can be defined as a mainly deontological and absolute system of law determined by nature and interpreted by human reason. It proposes that there is a natural order to our world that should be followed. It is argued that we need to use human reason to try and understand in greater depth these laws so then we are in a better position to make the decision to obey or not to obey these rules that govern the universe through the actions we take everyday. There are four levels of Natural Moral Law ordered in a hierarchy. The ultimate law is Eternal Law. These are the principles by which God made and controls the universe which only God can understand completely. We can have a partial understanding of these laws through ‘reflections’. Aquinas argued that we can understand these laws more by using human reason. He was influenced by Aristotle’s view that humans, like all objects in this realm, have a specific purpose. He argued supreme good is experienced when we fulfil our purpose. It was argued that our supreme good is ‘eudaimonia’ or ‘wellbeing’. So, if we have in mind living such a lifestyle, influenced by reason when making moral decisions then are we not more likely to make the right moral decisions? The second is the Divine law which is important to this issue as it reflects the eternal law as it appears to us through revelation. Aquinas essentially saw this law as holy texts such as the Bible. It can only be seen by those who believe in God and only when God chooses to reveal it. So, if someone is deciding what the right moral action is in a particular situation they could refer to the Bible by reading a specific passage or recalling the Ten Commandments. In ‘Summa Theologica’ Aquinas wrote, ‘To disparage the dictate of reason is
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