Natural Moral Law Essay

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PART A) Outline the key features of Natural Moral Law Natural Moral Law is a deontological ethical theory derived from the Greek word ‘deon’ meaning duty and therefore is concerned with the intent of the action rather than its consequences, as teleological theories do. It is accessible to all through either ‘natural order or understanding and following Gods final purpose’, (cited by Mel Thompson) by which God is viewed as the supreme regulator. The theory was espoused by Aristotle, who maintained that humans were created with the ability to reason, hence follow an intended telos (purpose). A key feature is that it is concerned with absolute morality as the rules must be adhered to ‘just as a fire burns here and in Persia’ – Aristotle. The idea is a pre-Christian idea, put forward by Aristotle who believed that each action should be followed in its aim to reach eudemonia, being a key feature of the theory and a state of human flourishing. He developed the concept of the ‘efficient cause’, which allows individuals to reach ones ‘telos’ being a final cause or purpose. Cicero further stated that it is immutable in its approach to ethics and ‘true law is right reason in accordance with nature, applied universally and is unchanging and everlasting’. Aquinas studied the work of Aristotle and outlined a key feature of the argument in his works the Summa Theologica where he described the moral factors to exist within the purpose of nature created by God. The eternal law infers Gods rationing of the universe whilst the divine law is based on Biblical and Church teachings. Central to the theory is natural law, a source of fulfilment on earth and the ‘heart of all gentiles’ (St Paul). From this, human law was devised, which governs daily behaviour and acts as an extension of natural law to be exercised by the state. The four cardinal virtues are a further key feature and
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