C.Rachels states that the Theory of Natural Law is often rejected on the basis of thethree following reasons:1.The notion that “what’s natural is good” is open to obviouscounterexamples. The list of so-called “natural” phenomena that are not good isseemingly unending. For example, disease, natural disasters, harmful humantendencies, etc. are but a few examples of natural things that are often considered bad.2.The confusion of “Is” and “Ought”: the 18
century philosopher, DavidHume, noted that what is the case and what ought to be the case are logicallydistinct matters, and what is the case does not lead to any conclusion about whatought to be the case. He argued that one cannot derive and “ought” (a moral ruleor principle) from an “is” (some naturally occurring event).3.The Theory of Natural Law is said to conflict with the modern scientificview of the world. Whereas Natural Law sees purpose and intention in the waythe world is, science is seemingly able to describe and explain the nature of theworld without any appeal to values or “facts” about right and wrong.
The Elements of Moral Philosophy
, Ch. 6)I.
Thomas Hobbes, British philosopher of the 17
century, is an early advocate forwhat we call Social Contract moral theory.
A.Hobbes tried to show that morality does not depend on God, moral facts or naturalaltruism. He began by asking: What would it be like if there were no social rules and nocommonly accepted mechanism for enforcing them? (p. 80) In other words, Hobbeswondered where the idea of morality might arise from if there were none of these presupposed starting points.1.Hobbes called this situation where there are no rules, no authorities and nomeans of sanction for behavior
the state of nature
.2.Life in this pre-socialized state of nature would have been dangerous, evendeadly. Hobbes describes four basic aspects of this existence that made itsuch a dangerous situation: