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“Critically assess the success of Finnis attempt to construct a theory of natural law based on practical reason and not on a universal view of morality as traditionally contended”. The Natural Law – Introduction. It is possible to trace Natural Law thinking from primitive stages of simple societies where there was very little distinction between the religious and the secular – the spiritual and the physical. For many of these early communities the spiritual world of gods and spirits was seen as being in control of the physical world including human society. Such communities had a variety of gods and spirits resulting in a spiritual entity associated with numerous aspects of the physical world. This gave rise to a belief that there was some higher power in control of human existence and this power was governed by a set of rules or principles which mankind could utilise in furtherance of a perfect existence.The kernel of the theory of Natural Law holds that law derives from a higher law, which is contained in certain principles of morality. These principles are sourced in either religion (through scriptures) or reason. According to theologians, these principles are under the control and governance of a God or figure of Deity and which eternally controls all of creation. Furthermore, it is their belief that all human arrangements, including law, must conform as far as possible to these principles. Secular theorists believe that such principles originate from man’s conscience – a conception of morality, which is inherent to all men, and part of their nature. Such principles or rules are discoverable through the application of human reason and form the genesis of law making, constituting the higher law from which all human laws must conform.


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