Aquinas - Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Ethics is grounded in...

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Unformatted text preview: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Ethics is grounded in the Natural Law implanted by God, as interpreted by Aristotle. Aristotle and Christianity Fundamental Differences The Universe Human Nature Morality- Good Life Aristotle The universe was not created by a loving, personal God. (an impersonal force was the first cause) Human beings are the most important life form, they are not fundamentally different from other living organisms. Humans have an ability to reason. Aristotle Souls are not immortal. One gains knowledge through observation and reasoning. The good life is a product of reason Aristotle relied on human experience. Humans posses psyche. (soulsource of rational and feeling parts of the self) Christianity The Universe was created by God. God created human beings as his own image. (humans are unique and totally unlike all other living organisms) Human beings have a broken relationship with God. Human beings are fallen and corrupt creatures, finite and ignorant. Christianity Only the undeserved grace and sacrifice or a loving God can save a human being. God rewards faith not reason. The rewards of faith are eternal life and perfect happiness. It accepts revelation that gives us certain knowledge. Aquinas's Natural Law Theory Eternal Law Natural Law Human Law Divine Law Eternal Law Eternal Law Is the most perfect and complete set of God's Law, which govern "the whole community of the universe." These laws include both general moral rules of conduct and particular rules. Humans have only partial knowledge of this law. Natural Law Natural Law Is a subset of eternal law and includes only general rules of conduct. These rules are embedded in our human nature, we access them through rational intuition. Human Law Human Law An attempt to deduce more specific rules from the general rules of natural law. These laws must conform the eternal law Divine Law Divine Law Is a special subset of eternal law that God reveals to us in divinely inspired texts- the Ten Commandments The purpose behind divine law is to help eliminate human error when searching for moral rules All moral laws are ultimately grounded in God's unchanging eternal law, and we discover general rules of natural through intuition. Morality begins, from our limited human perspectives, with a search for the general rules of natural law. But where do we begin looking for the general rules of natural law? "Each human being has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called natural law." ( Summa Theologica,1a2ae, 90.2) AquinasWhen God created us, he gave us natural instincts that reflect the general moral principles of natural law: 1. God implanted in us an instinctive intuition that we should pursue our proper human end. 2. God implanted in us a series of instincts that define our proper end as living, reproducing, and rational creatures. The Highest and Proper end of humans: The Supreme Good and End is God The highest wisdom goes beyond our natural life. The highest wisdom results from contemplation on divine things. The ultimate good is happiness, but no human happiness based on contemplation of this life, rather it is divine happiness, the beatific vision of God. The First Principle of the Natural Law: Good is to be done and promoted, and evil is to be avoided. Do good and avoid evil. Human beings are attracted by the good and repelled by evil. ( Human Inclinations: Pleasure/Pain) Natural Law Is a subset of eternal law and includes only general rules of conduct. These rules are embedded in our human nature, we access them through rational intuition. The Synderesis Principle: Synderesis, Greek word that means "innate moral consciousness." For Aquinas, synderesis is an instinctive habit - it is a weak habit. It is a component of our practical reason Our instinctive synderesis faculty informs us of the highest principle of natural law: we should act according to our proper end -DO GOOD AND AVOID EVIL- Morality is based on Human Natural Inclinations: First Inclination: Every substance endures, continues its own existence (preserve our own life) Second Inclination: Natural appetites, for food,for sexual relations, and for the care of our offspring, hence, because these are natural inclinations, it is obvious that these are also good. Third Inclination: To know the Good, thus and inclination to know God, and a natural inclination to live in society. 3 distinct faculties of human beings: The vegetative The appetitive The rational faculties Using natural inclinations and reason, Thomas Aquinas has virtually constructed a rational moral system for Christianity. Aquinas is not finding these moral injunctions in Scripture, in revelation, or in the commands of God- these are based on natural inclinations found in all human beings. Aquinas consider the most fundamental question of Western Ethics: Is an action morally correct because it produces good consequences, or can an action be morally correct even if it produces evil consequences? The First position The second is is called a referred to as teleological or deontological or consequentialist. nonconsequentialis t Equality of the souls, inequality of sexes: Woman in Medieval Theology. Eleanor McLaughlin Biology and Nature The Creation The Fall Punishment Marriage What is to be done? Make explicit the assumptions received from the tradition. The woman and men must be demythologized. Reconstruct the fundamental moral equivalence of the sexes. There will still be hierarchy, but it will be an ordering by merit, rather than by sex and status. ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/22/2009 for the course HUM 282927 taught by Professor Edwards during the Fall '08 term at Florida State College.

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Aquinas - Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Ethics is grounded in...

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