I figure that everyone wants help with their school work sometimes, as do I, so I decided to post some of my essays that I have written in the past for my philosophy and ethics course that I got full marks on.
PLEASE DO NOT coppy this word for word as that would be plagerism, but I have found that looking back over these past essays and summarising the main points was very useful when it came to revision of all the arguments.
The essay question you are working on will most likely not be this exact question so copying it exactly will not help in the slightest except to make you look like an idiot.
Hope this is useful to all you aspiring philosophers out there :)
The Strict Application of Natural Law Goes against Common Sense
This question is a very complicated one as one of the aspects of natural law is that it uses reason and 'common sense' to determine its rules for morality through observation. By observing the world around you and extracting the information to formulate moral laws needs logic and reason – two important factors in common sense. This is a difficult question because of the ambiguous nature of the phrase 'common sense'. The way that I would define it for this exercise is that it is sound, practical judgement when you utilise the knowledge you have to deduce the best course of action, however it is very difficult to pin down exactly what common sense is because it must be common to all people.
Procreation is an issue which brings up questions about common sense, for example – according to natural law, an act of rape that bring about the procreation of a child is morally better than an act of masturbation. This is because masturbation is a misuse of the sexual organ, it could never bring about children through natural means therefore is intrinsically wrong. Rape that is carried out with preventative measures such as the use of a condom is also intrinsically wrong, however unprotected rape that yields an infant would be seen as better than masturbation according to the logic of natural law. This clearly seems wrong as natural law does not take into account the feelings of people because it is not concerned with the result of an action if it is intrinsically good, rape with the intent of baring a child would be intrinsically good according to natural law because no part of natural law allows for feelings to be influential. Common sense tells us that masturbation is not as evil as rape because somebody was hurt in the latter situation and many would say that masturbation is harmless.
The rigid and antiquated laws mean that there is no room for situationism, relativism, consequentialism. Ideas of what is 'natural' change and evolve between cultures and times. For example – it used to be considered 'unnatural' to allow interracial couples and it was 'natural' to use black people as slaves. What is deemed natural or not is relative to the time and culture you live in. Logically, it would be absurd to follow natural law in a strict, rigid way because – as much as it says that it is absolutist and unchanging – it is fluctuating with the change of culture.
This also brings up the sensitive issue of homosexuality because how can natural law contradict it so fervently when there is evidence that it is a genetic trait that is naturally within some of us – just like the colour of our eyes. This contradiction over time makes it difficult to whole heartedly believe that natural law has exactly the same principles that it did when Aquinas developed his five primary precepts.
One of the flaws of natural law is that natural law operates without the need to consider possible consequences or outcomes prior to a moral decision being made. Based on pure reason – not on feelings.
This goes against the nature of human beings because our common sense incorporates more than just facts; we incorporate feeling into our decisions too otherwise we would not be able to act instinctively. An example of this would be that if a small woman was walking in the night through a street and a tall dangerous-looking man was standing on the corner, the woman should cross the street because of the feeling within her of fear, not because of the observation alone which would be meaningless – it is the possible consequences which encourage us to act in a certain way. It was common sense which told her that being near that man could be dangerous for her.
It is my belief that natural law contradicts itself in some ways, however, on the whole, natural law incorporates common sense into it's theory, but I believe that some of the observations are misguided like the one that homosexuality is wrong, because if God instilled an attraction within some people for the same sex, that could not have been accidental, therefore, although the sex does not end in a child, why does that have to be the end product if God designed some of us differently?
Common sense does clash with the principles of strict natural law on some subjects but it is my belief that overall, they go hand in hand.