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Flashcards in Natural Law Deck (14)
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What are Aquinas' 5 primary precepts?

P- Preserve Life
R- Reproduce
E- Educate Children
S- Safe and orderly society
W- Worship God


What is 'the synderesis rule'?

Do good and avoid evil.


How is Aristotle's 4th cause related to the development of Natural Law?

Aristotle thought that we can learn the purpose/telos of an object through it's design. Something is 'good' if it fulfills it's purpose/telos . For instance, a knife is created to cut, which can be seen through the sharp blade, and a good knife is one that cuts well.
Because of this, the final cause is the most important of Aristotle's 4 causes, as it gives the best explanation of an object. Aquinas later built upon this idea when developing natural law.


How did Aristotle arrive at the idea of 'eudamonia'?

The idea of the 4th cause is difficult to apply to humans. What exactly is the telos/purpose of a human being? How can we fulfill this unknown telos/purpose?


Define the term 'eudamonia'.

It can be loosely described as human happiness flourishing. Aquinas and Aristotle both believed that the purpose/telos of human beings is to achieve eudamonia.


Discuss the similarities and differences in the thinking of Aristotle and Aquinas.

Aquinas developed his thinking from Aristotle's early concept of Natural Law.
They both believe that morality is based entirely on reason, and that reason is required for humans to understand their purpose. They also both agree that universal laws govern the universe.
Despite this, they disagree on the concept of eudamonia. Aristotle believed that eudamonia can be achieved in a person's lifetime, whereas Aquinas believed that Eudamonia can only be reached in the afterlife when one is union with God.
Furthermore, Aquinas believed that God is both the efficient and final cause of the universe.


What did Aquinas believe about human nature?

Aquinas believed that human nature is essentially good, as we are created by God in his image and likeness.He also believed that humans have an innate, God-given tendency to follow the synderesis rule. Thus, humans never KNOWINGLY pursue evil.


Explain the concepts of 'apparent good' and 'real good'.

Aquinas believed that humans never knowingly pursue evil. Instead, because of a misuse of reason, they pursue what they believe to be true good. In reality, they are not pursuing real good, only apparent good. Apparent good appears to be good on the surface, but only real good is the genuine good.
For instance, when Hitler undetook a programme of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Nazi Germany, he believed that he was doing it for the good of his country,


Explain the concepts of 'the interior act' and 'the exterior act'

Aquinas believed that our intentions were in important when seeking to live a virtuous and moral life. So for an action to be moral, then the motive behind the action must also be good.
The exterior act is the outward act, whereas the interior act is the motive and behind the act.
For instance, giving to charity to impress someone is not a moral act according to Aquinas.


Name a secondary precept which could support each one of the primary precepts.

1. Abortion is wrong could be used to support 1st precept of THE PRESERVATION OF LIFE.
2. Do not use contraception could be used to support the 2nd precept of REPRODUCTION
3. The abolition of university tuition fees could be used to support the 3rd precept of EDUCATING THE YOUNG
4. No littering could be used to support the 4th precept of LIVING IN A SAFE AN ORDERLY SOCIETY
5. Attending church on Sundays could be used to support the 5th primary precept of WORSHIPING GOD


Describe the hierarchy of laws according to Aquinas.

Eternal Law- Divine Law- Natural Law- Human Law.
Each section of law depends on the authority of the section above.


Describe eternal law according to Aquinas.

Eternal law is contained in the mind of God which humans cannot know. These are the ultimate laws which govern everything in the universe, like the laws of physics.


Describe divine law according to Aquinas.

Divine law is the word of God, as revealed through The Bible and the teachings of Jesus and the church.


Describe human law according to Aquinas.

Human law is laws which humans create to govern our everyday life, like speed limits on motorways.