Natural law theory in legal philosophy is a school of thought that stresses on law as it ought to be. It sets a standard for the laws to achieve. Law is seen as a dictate from a higher authority that all citizens have to comply to. This school focusses on the idea that certain rights are bestowed on people by virtue of birth, these rights are inalienable and are safeguarded. The ideas are similar to Christian philosophy that the word of God dictates the act of man and that man should stay within the confines that God sets for them. There are many thinkers that concur to this school.
St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the most influential natural law thinkers of the Middle Ages. His ideologies were mainly based on theological practices and Biblical ideologies. The natural law theory of Aquinas is largely based on the idea that God commands something because it is right. Natural theory as propounded by Aquinas has 4 elements: Eternal Law, Natural Law, Human Law and Divine Law.
Eternal Law, refers to God’s plan on how things would work or function. Everything has a goal or a purpose. Anything that can help in fulfilling the goal or purpose is good in nature. To understand what the purpose or goal is and how exactly to fulfil it, human use reason. It is reason that forms the fundamental idea to Natural Law as believed by Aquinas. There are certain principles associated with Natural law theory, they emphasise on the importance of protecting and preserving human life, reproducing and educating one’s offspring, knowing God and worshipping him and living in a society. All these precepts are intrinsic in nature according to Aquinas and is absolute and binding on all. Aquinas puts forward the idea of secondary precepts. These secondary precepts is formulated and is not intrinsic, it is extrinsic. These secondary precepts form the basis to Human law. These regulate the life in a society and is enacted and put forward by governments. They are formulated on human reason. The fourth type of law that Aquinas introduced in his Natural Law Theory is Divine Law. As the name suggests, this law is based on the mysteries, they are believed to be divine in nature and found in holy books, the ten commandments being the best example of the same. According to Aquinas, following Human Law and Divine Law will help fulfil the purposes of life and thus help in accordance to Eternal law and Natural law.
According to Aquinas’s theory external actions do not alone suffice, a man’s actions are better understood and justified when understanding the motivation behind it. In this regard, Aquinas introduces the ‘Doctrine of Double Effect’. In order to justify an act according to this doctrine, the should be good, it should be based on good intentions, it should be done before consequences arise and for a serious purpose. Therefore, Aquinas in his Natural Law Theory gives importance to internal thoughts as well as external actions.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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