Learning objective: to explore whether there is a universal moral code within all people; To know what Aquinas said about the 4 types of law. Universal Absolutist Deontological • Give examples of moral beliefs held by most/all people that might indicate a common law in all people. • Give examples of differing moral beliefs that counter the suggestion of a common moral law. • Can we use our human reason to deduce what these principles might be? In other words, is there any evidence in the world that there are fixed principles that all humans should adhere to? What do you think is meant by the term NATURAL MORAL LAW How do you think natural moral law differs from the laws of nature Saint Thomas Aquinas 1225 –1274 An Italian priest and influential theologian and philosopher. We will learn about his moral theory. Romans 1.20 How could this point to the actuality of a universal moral law? NORMATIVE ETHICS Deontological ethics Virtue ethics Teleological ethics Think about it… … is there is a universal moral code within all people? Having considered this key question during our lesson, write either a YES or a NO on your whiteboard. Give one brief reason for your opinion. Be ready to display your board and justify your view. We are looking at an attempt to ground morality in something objective and universal, namely, human nature. Consider the following moral claims: - Soldiers who were just ‘obeying orders’ in aiding the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust were nevertheless acting wrongly, as the Nuremburg Trials recognized, and the trial of Adolf Eichmann showed. - An unjust law, such as one that discriminates on the basis of race, is not a law (Martin Luther King Jr). - Slavery is wrong, and always was wrong, even when it had legal sanction. Moral claims such as these seem to presuppose that there is an objective human morality, that can in principle be known by any reasonable human being, and which is not relative to a particular culture, religion or period of history. The argument is that there are some ways of acting that are required or prohibited by our very humanity “The horrors of the [twentieth] century – from the Holocaust to Rwanda – point to a level of moral perversity that is unimaginable. There is widespread recognition by all but the most indifferent and cynical that these evils amount to something more than a violation of mere social customs, aesthetic taste or sentiment.” Stephen Pope How far do you agree? Read the sheet Aquinas and the 4 types of law. Can you summarise each type of law in 3 lines only? 1. Eternal law – God’s unchanging law remaining the same for all people in all places. It is absolute and universal. It is part of God. 2. Divine law – how God reveals his eternal law through divine revelation e.g. the Bible. 3. Natural law – we can also find out the eternal law through our reason. This marks us from animals. 4. Human law – our response to these messages. Human law is the customs and practices of society. It is only proper law if it is in accordance with divine and natural law.