Examine The Key Features Of Natural Law (18)
Natural Law is an approach to morality that states there is an innate set of rules inside humans that we all strive to follow, it is described as “ the sharing in the eternal law by intelligent creatures” by Thomas Aquinas. It is an absolutist approach as these “laws” are unchanging and objective, the same for everyone. Because natural law has rules it is also a deontological theory, which stems from a teleological standpoint as it has a purpose, all of these rules are to unite us with God in the eternal life. These rules also create norms and values which are supposedly inherent, meaning that natural law is also normative.
Natural law has five primary precepts, these are the rules put forward originally by Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century writer who concerned himself with natural law. He states that you must preserve life, reproduce, educate the young, live in society and worship God, to Aquinas these are the internal rules that we all have. From these 5 precepts we can derive a whole set of other rules, referred to commonly as secondary precepts. Take for example the preservation of life, from this we can take that murder, suicide and abortion are all against natural law, making them secondary precepts. Aquinas was heavily influenced by Aristotle, a secular thinker 1500 years his predecessor. The crossover of Aquinas’ Christian ideas and Aristotle’s secular thoughts has come to be known as natural