Consider the following case: Imagine that one of your good friends has a piece of antique jewelry that has been passed down in her family for several generations. However, she tells you that she has recently lost it and that she would be devastated should anything happen to it, as would the rest of her family. In helping her look for the jewelry, you happen to find it. However, it is completely ruined. It is broken and damaged beyond repair to the point that it is almost unrecognizable. You don’t know how it happened. Before telling your friend the bad news, you consider that you might be able to simply replace it. You happen to know a jeweler who is familiar with the piece. She assures you that it is not rare and that she could easily find a duplicate –one that she is quite confident your friend and her family would not be able to tell is not the original. How, according to natural law theory, should you proceed in this situation?
Your paper should be structured as follows:
(i) An introductory paragraph that summarizes the paper and states your thesis (whether you will defend or criticize natural law theory and briefly explains the nature of your argument).
(ii) An explanation of what you take to be the key elements of natural law as a theory of moral decision-making (you should use Aquinas and class notes).
(iii) Analyze the above case from a natural law perspective. What issues would a natural law theorist consider? How would a natural law theorist reason through possible courses of action? What, ultimately, would a natural law theorist say you should do in the case?
(iv) Your argument. Do you agree with the natural law perspective in this case? Argue for why or why not. If not, what do you think is flawed about the natural law theorist’s reasoning? If so, offer a defense against a potential objection to the natural law position.
(v) Conclusion (summarize what you’ve done in the paper and restate your thesis).
Keep in mind that the goal of this assignment is for you to analyze the primary source material and make an original argument. As such, the only material you should be using is the text itself, your class notes, and your own thoughts. DO NOT BRING IN SECONDARY SOURCE MATERIAL (books, articles, and especially online material). Keep in mind the policy on plagiarism as stated in the syllabus.
The paper should be typed double-spaced and should be between 750 and 1000 words (about two to three pages in standard font and margins).
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