Premium Essay

Aristotle's Teaching on Natural Law

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By BigDave98
Words 473
Pages 2
Give an account of Aristotle’s teaching about Natural law

Aristotle was the first practitioner to contribute to the creation of Natural Law as inspired by his mentor Plato he developed the relationship between Natural and conventional justice and outlined the use of Natural inclinations in Natural law. In this essay I will outline Aristotle’s contribution to Natural law.
Aristotle’s works, Nicomanchean Ethics and The Politics illustrate the close between legal and political philosophy. In Nicomanchean Ethics, Aristotle argued that law supports a virtuous existence, advances the lives of individuals and promotes the ‘perfect community’. He proposed people should employ practical wisdom or active reason in order to behave in a way that is consistent with a virtuous existence. Aristotle defined justice as ‘a state of mind that encourages men to perform just actions, ‘just’ meaning ‘lawful’, ‘fair’ and ‘virtuous’. In theory, then, there exists a universal standard of natural justice which is unchangeable, but in practice there must always be a mix of natural justice and legal justice in the laws of the city. Therefore while the principles of natural justice don't change, natural justice in action varies because in applying natural justice conventional justice needs to be added.
Aristotle divided ‘political’ justice into ‘natural’ and ‘conventional’ justice. According to Aristotle, the content of ‘natural’ justice (or ‘universal’ law) is set by nature, which renders it immutable and valid in all communities. In contrast, ‘conventional’ justice comprises rules devised by individual communities to serve their needs. Aristotle argued ‘conventional’ justice is subject to change (depending on the form of government), and is therefore subordinate to ‘natural’ justice.
In Nicomanchean Ethics, Aristotle identified a further two types of justice: distributive and...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Explain the Main Principles of the Natural Law Approach to Ethics.

...Natural Law is an absolutist theory because it doesn’t vary its primary precepts with circumstances. Natural law is a mixture of teleological and deontological because it has primary precepts which are to do with duty, and secondary which apply to circumstances. Thomas Aquinas based Natural Law on Aristotle’s teaching about causality. In Aristotle Final cause and purpose are important when trying to give an explanation of a thing. Eg. the final cause of a knife is to cut. Aristotle thought this is what made a good knife. Something is good inasmuch as it fulfills its purpose. (The most important cause is the final cause which when achieved by an object it reaches perfection – because it has moved from potentiality to actuality eg. a potential A grade student becomes an actual one through application of hard work. ) The contrast with other senses of the word good can be brought out if we consider that a good knife can be used to perform a bad deed – ie. to stab a person. However, if it cut cleanly it would be good in the sense of doing what it was made for. This use of the word good is taken up in Aquinas and used in his theory. What is clear for a knife is not so clear for humans – what is our purpose? Ultimately, God Himself is the final purpose of human beings – our goals are not merely temporal, but eternal, because we have an immortal soul. However, we also have temporal purposes, which could be summarised as to live and flourish in certain ways discoverable by......

Words: 656 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...Greek philosopher Aristotle was born circa 384 B.C. in Stagira, Greece. When he turned 17, he enrolled in Plato’s Academy. In 338, he began tutoring Alexander the Great. In 335, Aristotle founded his own school, the Lyceum, in Athens, where he spent most of the rest of his life studying, teaching and writing. Aristotle died in 322 B.C., after he left Athens and fled to Chalcis. Aristotle - Mini Biography (TV-14; 03:02) Learn more about the life of Greek philosopher Aristotle, whose work profoundly influenced the modern scientific method, in this mini biography. Early Life Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle was born circa 384 B.C. in Stagira, a small town on the northern coast of Greece that was once a seaport. Aristotle’s father, Nicomachus, was court physician to the Macedonian king Amyntas II. Although Nicomachus died when Aristotle was just a young boy, Aristotle remained closely affiliated with and influenced by the Macedonian court for the rest of his life. Little is known about his mother, Phaestis; she is also believed to have died when Aristotle was young. After Aristotle’s father died, Proxenus of Atarneus, who was married to Aristotle’s older sister, Arimneste, became Aristotle’s guardian until he came of age. When Aristotle turned 17, Proxenus sent him to Athens to pursue a higher education. At the time, Athens was considered the academic center of the universe. In Athens, Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy, Greek’s premier learning institution, and proved......

Words: 1769 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Aristotle's Polis

...ARISTOTLE'S POLIS: NATURE, HAPPINESS, AND FREEDOh1 Ideologists of all stripes seem to have difficulty dealing with t h e foundations of what is loosely called the ""Western tradition," t h a t is, the body of knowledge that has come down to us from Athens a n d Jerusalem. Of course, these days Jerusalem is simply ignored. T h e classical tradition, however, must be dealt with. Yet it is frequently so transfigured that what emerges is what the ideologist wishes u s t o see, rather than what is these. The most ambitious attempt at this sort of thing by a 'Yiberal" ideologist is Eric A. Havelock's T h e Liberal Temper in Greek Politics.' More recently and on a smaller scale, Fred Miller has, in the pages of this journal, interpreted one aspect of the classical tradition from the standpoint of "~ibertarianY' political theory, in his essay "The State and the Community in Aristotle's Polieics. "' This curious attempt to defend the "libertarianism9' of Lykophron and Mippodamus3 against Aristotle's '6ppaternalism9'is a daring, if ill-conceived, enterprise. In Miller's presentation, Aristotle seems t o emerge as a villain who misunderstand the enlightened political thought of the Greek "libertarians" and, we are to infer, derails subsequent political thought in the name of "'paternalism." Fundamental to Miller's reading of the Politics is the idea t h a t there is a distinction between ""cmmunity" and "'state" that Aristotle confuses in his use of golis. He argues......

Words: 3924 - Pages: 16

Free Essay

My Term Paper in Ancient Philosophy

...ARISTOTLE’S PRUDENCE IN UPHOLDING THE VANISHING FILIPINO VALUE; DELICADEZA A Termpaper Presented to Dr. Rodrigo Abenes,PH.D Rogationist Seminary College-Manila In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy Submitted by: Sem. Joseph Jeric C. Umangga ARISTOTLE’S PRUDENCE IN UPHOLDING THE VANISHING FILIPINO VALUE; DELICADEZA I. INTRODUCTION Ancestors during their times are known for being disciplined and decent citizens.[1]Ancient law makers had filled the Philippines through instituting laws, rules and regulations to provide the citizens a peaceful and orderly way of life. Through the obedience of the Filipinos, they had practiced to be always properly conducted every time in accordance with the place they dwell with. Later on, Filipinos have found the conclusion which is to include the value called Delicadeza as one of the Filipino values. II. DELICADEZA AS A VALUE Delicadeza is a Spanish word coined from “Delicado” which means fragile, irreplaceable and precious.[2] In Spanish it can mean many things – ‘delicacy’, ‘kindness’, ‘tact.’ The word implies a care for what others think and the accordant behavior this requires from the person in act. When one does not exhibit delicadeza then one does not care what others think and will behave despite what has been deemed ‘improper. ’ Delicadeza, in this sense, can be seen to underline a sense of......

Words: 2975 - Pages: 12

Free Essay

Religion

...A Protagonist of the Scientific Revolution: Galileo Galilei was one of the protagonists of the scientific revolution, best known for his astronomical discoveries by means of a telescope (including sunspots, Jupiter’s satellites, and the phases of Venus), for his defense of heliocentrism, and for his study of the natural laws regarding falling bodies. Galileo, however, gave key contributions also to the development of the modern scientific methodology; for this reason, he holds a special place in the philosophy of science and epistemology. Life: Galileo was born in or nearby Pisa from Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammannati. His father was a well known lutenist and music theorist, and the young Galileo was well versed in the art as well (Galileo’s youngest sibling, Michelangelo, became indeed an accomplished lutenist). During his youth, Galileo moved through different locations in Tuscany, among which the monastery of Vallombrosa, run by Camaldolese monks. The story goes that until 1581 Galileo had not studied mathematics. After considering priesthood and enrolling into a program for physician at the University of Pisa, Galileo suddenly realized his mathematical vocation upon attending a geometry lecture. Immediately, he started discovering ingenious facts and creating crafts such as thermoscope. As early as 1589, Galileo held a chair in mathematics at the University of Pisa, which position he kept until 1592, when he moved to Padua. There, he remained until 1610. ...

Words: 6109 - Pages: 25

Premium Essay

History

...I. THE THEORY OF THE IDEAS AND PLATO’S ONTOLOGY I. 1. The ontological dualism The theory of the Ideas is the base of Plato’s philosophy: the Ideas are not only the real objects ontologically speaking, but they are the authentically objects of knowledge epistemologically speaking. From the point of view of ethics and politics, they are the foundation of the right behaviour, and anthropologically speaking they are the base of Plato’s dualism and they even allow him demonstrate the immortality of the soul. Plato defends a clear ontological dualism in which there are two types of realities or worlds: the sensible world and the intelligible world or, as he calls it, the world of the Ideas. The Sensible World is the world of individual realities, and so is multiple and constantly changing, is the world of generation and destruction; is the realm of the sensible, material, temporal and space things. On the contrary, the Intelligible World is the world of the universal, eternal and invisible realities called Ideas (or "Forms"), which are immutable and do not change because they are not material, temporal or space. Ideas can be understood and known; they are the authentic reality. The Ideas or Forms are not just concepts or psychic events of our minds; they do exist as objective and independent beings out of our consciences. They are also the origin of sensible things, but although they are the authentic beings, Plato, unlike Parmenides of Elea, do not......

Words: 11604 - Pages: 47

Premium Essay

Enviornmental Ehtics

...|Meta Ethics |Conscience |Free Will and Determinism |Virtue Ethics |Environment/Business |Sexual Ethics | |Jan 2012 |All ethical language is prescriptive.’ Discuss. [35] | |Critically assess the claim that free will and determinism are compatible. [35] |3 To what extent do modern versions of Virtue Ethics address the weaknesses of Aristotle’s teaching on virtue? [35] | |For moral issues surrounding sex the demands of conscience override other ethical considerations.’ | |June 2011 |‘Ethical statements are no more than expressions of emotion.’ Discuss. | |Critically assess the view that we are not responsible for our evil actions |To what extent is Virtue Ethics helpful when making decisions about extramarital sex? |Assess the claim that secular approaches to environmental issues are of more help than religious approaches. | | |Jan 2011 | |Critically assess the claim that conscience is the voice of reason. (35) |Our ethical decisions are merely the result of social conditioning. Discuss. (35) | |The environment suffers because business has no ethics. Discuss. (35) |Natural Law is the most reliable approach when making decisions about pre-marital sex. Discuss. (35) | |June 2010 | | |Critically assess the claim that people are free to make moral decisions. (35) |‘The weaknesses of Virtue Ethics outweigh its strengths.’ Discuss. (35) |Assess the usefulness of Religious Ethics as an ethical approach to business. (35) |To what extent are ethical theories helpful when considering...

Words: 334 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Rhetoric vs Sophistry

...discuss the origins and evolution of Rhetoric, with Mailloux introduce a historical and philosophical criticism of “sophistic Rhetoric as applied in the modern American context” (for example, neopragmatism and poststructuralism), and evaluated in the rest of the book, whilst West and Turner enlighten the reader about the heurism and globalism of Aristotle’s Rhetorical theory with a focus on the discipline of public speaking. Mailloux introduces sophistic Rhetoric as founded on the pragmatic doctrine that “Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not”, a phrase attributed to the Sophist Protagoras (Patrick, 2006). Others Sophists of note include Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias and Thrasymachus – quoted in Plato’s Republic as saying “… ‘Just’ or ‘right’ means nothing but what is to the interest of the stronger party” (Plato & Lane, 2007)). West and Turner’s account of the Rhetoric show that the first teachers of Rhetoric were the "Sophists”, who were nomadic teachers of public speaking that were respected for their intellect and subsequently paid highly for their teachings. A modern understanding of Sophistic philosophy can be described by author and activist Rahul Easwar’s quote “The real fight is not between right and wrong; the real fight is between my right and your right”. Mailloux explains Plato and his (classical and contemporary) sympathizers’ contempt for Sophism and dismissal of the same as a...

Words: 2288 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Same Sex Marriage: a 21st Century Matter

...formal union between man and woman. However, some general Christians may argue that marriage means to live a happy and joyful life with an intimate partner regardless of gender. Within these countless arguments about banning same sex marriages are the small but controversial topics that heat up the debate even more. The biggest issue that fuel the fire even more are the constant debates regarding the definition of the word “marriage”, people around the world have different definitions of the word marriage based on their environments, religion, and other external sources. Another issue that debaters, politicians, and people of the country are constantly debating and arguing about is the concept that can be simply put as “is homosexuality natural?”, believe it or not this one question is the most debated and argued topic between people who oppose same sex marriage and people who approve of same sex marriage. The final issue is the disagreement of the pros of same sex marriage, every time there is a positive note that comes out of same sex marriage, people of the opposition finds something to make that positive into a negative. Although there have been debates about this controversial issue of same sex marriage, both sides of the argument are still fighting to prove that their arguments are superior to the other. The fact that the...

Words: 1404 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Explain Natural Law

...Aquinas’ theory of Natural Law (25 Marks) The theory of natural law has been around for over 2000 years. Natural law believes that every person/thing has a purpose. It is an absolutist law; this is because the rules are set for everyone and need to be followed at all times. It is also deontological as natural law defines what is right and gives us moral rules. Aristotle believed humans were born into knowing how to act morally, as it was written within us. Aristotle believed that if people would follow laws it would lead to eudemonia. Aquinas was heavily influenced by Aristotle’s belief that all people served a purpose. Aquinas went on to believe that all of us have a ‘god given’ purpose. Soon enough Aquinas had created natural law. Natural law was influenced by Aristotle and created by Thomas Aquinas. Natural law is the idea that there is a natural order to the world that should be obeyed. This is determined by God. God made us with a purpose; natural law directs us on the purposes that we need to fulfil and natural law can be applied universally. Aquinas stated that there were four types of law: Eternal law, the perfect, complete set of God’s law that had created the universe. Humans have only partial knowledge of this. Divine law, the sacred teachings and texts of the church - that had come from God’s law written in the bible. Natural law, the human ability to know what is naturally right from our own reason. And finally, Human law, the interpretation of divine law. For......

Words: 1593 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Utilitarism

...Question 1: Williams thinks that the doctrine of negative responsibility, which follows from the principle of utility, undermines personal integrity. Do you agree that being held responsible for the consequences of not acting, of failing to prevent something, will (always or sometimes) erode the idea of personal integrity? Is there any way to be a utilitarian and still respect the integrity of individuals? Integrity is the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue. One may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they clam to hold. As Williams explains, the principal of utility undermines personal integrity. Utilitarianism focuses primarily on describing morally correct action, not necessarily virtue and character. Williams criticizes how utilitarianism specifies more than what it is for an action to be morally correct by specifying how an individual should think about moral decision. For example, individuals should think about which of the actions available would maximize general well-being and decide to act accordingly. Williams explains that utilitarianism recognizes no personal commitments, causes, or any other such related activities and any individual who tried to live as an utilitarian would not be able to live with integrity (Williams 1973). A utilitarian might argue that his identity-conferring commitments, which Williams argues......

Words: 2348 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Business Ethics

...BUSINESS ETHICS AND VIRTUE A review on On Robert C. Solomon’s many ways of being ethical SUBMITTED BY: NAME: STEVE AGONO OBADO COURSE: MsIT BUSINESS ETHICS AND VIRTUE A review on On Robert C. Solomon’s many ways of being ethical SUBMITTED BY: NAME: STEVE AGONO OBADO COURSE: MsIT BUSINESS AND VIRTUE INTRODUCTION The author of this thesis seeks to examine unexplored solutions that could add value to the already existent ethical disclosure and because there is a lack of consensus regarding ethical issues in the workplace. He therefore specifically chose to study the virtue framework articulated by Philosopher Robert C. Solomon, precisely in the business context. He deals with the philosophical problem in a twofold approach. 1. One refers to virtue ethics and 2. Application in the specific branch of business ethics. His thesis will attempt to show the richness and value of such an approach to solve ethical dilemmas in business and in life. MAIN THRUST OF THE ARGUMENT The aim of the thesis is to show how an application of virtue reflects one of many ‘ethical styles’ (Solomon 1999). He goes through various interpretations of virtue ethics. 1. TAYLOR’S INTERPRETATION He thinks that by exclusively adopting the virtuous ethical standpoint one will have a definitive answer to every moral problem. The others believe that Taylor’s proposal is flawed in some aspects. 2. ARISTOTOLE’S ETHICAL THEORY IN CONNECTION TO BUSINESS ETHICS The author......

Words: 1945 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

History of Evolution

...Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. This theory is sometimes crudely referred to as the theory of "survival of the fittest." It was proposed by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species in 1859 and, independently, by Alfred Wallace in 1858—although Wallace, unlike Darwin, said the human soul is not the product of evolution. Greek and medieval references to "evolution" use it as a descriptive term for a state of nature, in which everything in nature has a certain order or purpose. This is a teleological view of nature. For example, Aristotle classified all living organisms hierarchically in his great scala naturae or Great Chain of Being, with plants at the bottom, moving through lesser animals, and on to humans at the pinnacle of creation, each becoming progressively more perfect in form. It was the medieval philosophers, such as Augustine, who began to incorporate teleological views of nature with religion: God is the designer of all creatures, and everything has a purpose and a place as ordained by Him. In current times, to some, the terms "evolution" and "God" may look like unlikely bed fellows (see the discussion on teleology). This is due primarily to today's rejection by biologists of a teleological view of evolution in favor of a more mechanistic one. The process of rejection is commonly considered to have begun with Descartes and to have culminated in Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Fundamental to natural selection is...

Words: 4509 - Pages: 19

Premium Essay

Culinary

...one of the Seven Wise Men of ancient Greece. Thales was the first of the Greek natural philosophers and founder of the Ionian school of ancient Greek thinkers. Works/Writings/Philosophy:  His is said to have measured the Egyptian pyramids and to have calculated the distance from shore of ships at sea using his knowledge of geometry.  He also predicted an eclipse of the sun. In geometry Thales has been credited with the discovery of five theorems like the one that a triangle inscribed in a semicircle has a right angle. He tried to discover the substance from which everything in nature is made off and suggested water.  Thales is important in bridging the worlds of myth and reason. He initiated the revolutionary notion that to understand the world one needed to know its nature and that there was an explanation for all phenomena in natural terms. That was a giant step from the assumptions of the old world that supernatural forces determined almost everything.  While considering the effects of magnetism and static electricity, he concluded that the power to move other things without the mover itself changing was a characteristic of "life", so that a magnet and amber must therefore be alive in some way (in that they have animation or the power to act). If so, he argued, there is no difference between the living and the dead. If all things were alive, they must also have souls or divinities (a natural belief of his time), and the end result of this argument was an almost total......

Words: 17879 - Pages: 72

Free Essay

Stoicism

...Stoicism Stoicism is a philosophical teaching which has proven itself the most attainable and practicable ideology for the general citizen, baring ethics as its fruit. Stoics explain the world through physics, logic, and ethics. They draw attention to ethics and develop it as their primary importance of reason, while expanding on logic and physics as substance to strut their ethical resolves and principles. Originating from Greece, Stoicism evolved during the course of multiple periods, its inconsistencies being refined in the Roman hands and eventually popularized through Christianity with a slight, yet important modification (AOK 196, 224). Stoicism arose from Antisthenes’ Cynicism, using its foundation that the main personal pursuit was happiness was within the soul and that one had to use “rational control of all desires and appetites” (AOK 194). The Cynics, greatly influenced by Socrates’ lifestyle, had disdain for civilization for it weakened and corrupted the soul. They eventually turned away from everyone, becoming individualistic instead of brotherly. Their attention to happiness, or averting of unhappiness, was solely personal and showed their mistake of establishing their ideology on a “savage and uncultured nature,” instead of “a developed civilized nature” as the Stoic have (TSC 184) However, Cynicism had taught Diogenes who became the living icon of the cynical ideology “the less an individual needs to be happy, the less vulnerable he or she is,” becoming a...

Words: 1929 - Pages: 8