Natural Law Theory Essay

6442 Words Dec 3rd, 2010 26 Pages
According to Jenkins, “The natural law theory begins with theories about the nature and purpose of the world and moves on to ask about the purpose of every action or object. The right thing to do is that which fulfils the natural purpose.” Natural law was developed by Thomas Aquinas, in which he believed that there is such a thing as natural moral law. Natural law ethics depends on the belief that the world was designed by a creator, God. It teaches everything God made has a purpose, including every aspect of human life, and everything should work towards the purpose assigned to it. If we fulfil this purpose we do ‘good’, for example it is good to preserve life (“Do not kill”). If we frustrate the purpose for which something has been …show more content…
Hume argued that what is the case and what ought to be the case are different ideas. According to Jenkins, “sex does produce babies by this does not necessarily mean that people ought to have sex only for this purpose.” In some situations it may be necessary to against natural law to achieve a better end result, natural law is too flexible. According to Peter Mullen, “it may be necessary, for example to torture an innocent person to save the lives of thousands.” Finally, how do we define what is natural and what isn’t, there are some basic ideals but these are too vague to apply to specific situations. For example should we try to prolong the life of someone who is ill, for death is the ‘natural’ result? Natural law also puts too much emphasis on human reason. Human reason can be corrupted by sin, e.g. holocaust.

However there are strengths of the natural law theory. First of all, it is a universal guide. It provides humanity with a set of common moral principles and can be sued if you are religious or not (Aristotle). Secondly it is a simple, straightforward set of rules – we look at the evidence of the natural world and apply our reason to consider if something is right or wrong. And thirdly, the principles of natural law can be applied to solve specific moral problems – casuistry.

In conclusion, “The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and…

Related Documents