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Aquinas on Natural Law

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course Dr Daniel De Haan (University of Oxford) examines Aquinas’ ethics of natural law. In the first module, we situate Aquinas’ account of natural law within his overarching theological worldview. Then, we look at Aquinas’ four kinds of law, before moving on to his treatment of natural law. In looking at natural law, we relate Aquinas’ views on reasoning, his distinction between operations, powers and habits of the intellect, and his concept of synderesis to his ethics. In the fourth module, we examine the virtues, and their essential place in Aquinas’ account of natural law. After that we explore some objections to natural law, and investigate Aquinas’ doctrine of double effect as a means to respond to such objections. Finally, we discuss how natural law informs, and features within, contemporary debates concerning human rights, human nature, and morality.

About the Lecturer

Dr Daniel De Haan is a Senior Research Fellow & Lecturer in Philosophy and Theology in the Catholic Tradition at the University of Oxford. His research interests are in philosophical theology, Christian and religious ethics, and science and religion. His most recent publications include Aquinas on Perceiving, Thinking, Understanding, and Cognizing Individuals (2019), and Approaching Other Animals with Caution: Exploring Insights from Aquinas's Psychology (2019)

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