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Strengths and Weaknesses of Natural Law Theory

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Lauren McHale

on 12 October 2013

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Transcript of Strengths and Weaknesses of Natural Law Theory

Strengths and Weaknesses of Natural Law Theory
Natural Law is...?
Natural Law was Aquinas's theory based on Aristotle's Ideas of Eudamonia and purpose. The primary precepts, and by extension secondary precepts were based on this.
It is a mostly deontological theory, however the idea of the secondary precepts brings in a teleological argument.
Using natural law, we use reason to determine the secondary precepts to find a course of action to follow - this process is called
causistry
however sometimes the judgement is flawed and we follow what is known as an "apparent good."


Strengths of Natural Law
There are a number of strengths to natural law as it is a strong ethical theory. Bellow are some reasons why.
Weaknesses of Natural Law
However, despite the number of strengths this theory has, there are just as many, if not more weaknesses.
Have some philosophical/ethical images!
To conclude!
In conclusion, while Natural Law is a popular and works in theory, it has a myriad of detrimental flaws which prevent it from fully working in a modern society, for instance it makes the same mistake Eudamonia does in saying that each person desires the same things, such as perfection or happiness.
The Primary precepts are considered "ethically good" in most societies. Living in an ordered society and protecting innocent lives are popular concepts.
Because it is considered a deontological theory, Natural Law is universally applicable. This means that regardless of race, age or gender Natural Law can be applied and followed
It is based on more than hedonisim. The theory has been praised by a number of thinkers for removing the animalistic idea of being entirely focused on individual or group pleasure. This gives humans a higher purpose and adds strength to Natural Law.
The previous point links to the fact that Natural Law is also focused on being a good person. The four cardinal virtues are central to having good internal acts. (Temperance, Bravery, Justice and Prudence)
The synderisis rule assumes all humans are the same and do not intend to commit bad acts, which is simply not the case. In fact, many people are proud of atrocities intentionally committed.
It is not possible to judge what is natural. Modern medicine saves lives daily that "The power of God" simply will not. Should we let these people die for the cause of not interfering in Gods will?
When humans make ethical decisions they are not always rational. People are more likely to base their decisions on emotional factors and instinct, even if only because it's faster to do so.
It restricts what both God and Humans have the capability to do. Through Eternal and Divine law, it claims that only Christians can see a portion of the world as God "wills" it. This not only excludes the other Abrahamic faiths (Judaism and Islam) from experiencing the world with knowledge, but all other humans. (who were also supposedly made in God's image too) Not only that, Natural Law claims that God can only reveal himself through humans REASONING. This would mean that religious experiences or miracles can not happen, yet many christians and followers of Natural Law claim to have had a religious experience.
Individual problems do not easily fit into Natural Law either. It is a fine enough theory to base laws on for the good of society as a whole, but it gives no guidance for individuals making ethical decisions.
It commits the Naturalistic Fallacy, meaning that there is no way to define good, yet this theory attempts to anyway.
Also, the use of reason has been criticized, as you can justify almost anything, even if it doesn't agree with most of the primary precepts. Abortion for example, while not protecting innocent lives, having children, giving that child the opportunity to be educated or worshiping God, it can be considered as living in an ordered society, and so is justifiable.
Natural Law provides a point of interfaith dialouge as most faiths agree with the primary precepts.
There is a great emphasis on natural, social and physical harmony. Nature, Society and the plights of both the elderly and the very young are considered. Every human life is worth the same.
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