Lecture Notes

 Elements of Natural law:

  1. We are different from everything else on earth
  2. We have consciousness: we are thinking beings
  3. We are self-aware
  4. We see ourselves as individuals
  5. We can choose our thoughts and behavior
  6. We can think about and correct our thoughts and behavior

Arguments for Law of Human Nature:

  1. Conscience- sense of right and wrong and oppressive force pushing us to the good
  2. Transposition- we have certain emotions that we can distinguish between but which are manifest physically in the same ways- cry when we’re happy, cry when we’re sad
  3. Value system in all cultures- very uniform throughout history
  4. Nature obeys laws but doesn’t explain causes
  5. Our desperate need for purpose, meanings and story

Examples of First principles:

  1. Nothing exists without a cause
  2. There is a right and wrong
  3. People should choose right
  4. People should be held accountable for their choices
  5. Ideas of fairness
  6. Law of the harvest
  7. All people should tell the truth
  8. Those who have more should help those who have less
  9. Respect for human life

“…have been written by the finger of God on the very hearts of men.”    Thomas Reid

Examples of Principles—ideas that you can apply multiple ways, not an application or opinion

  1. Stay out of debt
  2. Save a percentage of your earnings
  3. Do hard things to build self-confidence
  4. Treat others as you would be treated
  5. Seek first to understand
  6. Put first things first- time and energy management
  7. Eat a well-balanced diet
  8. Build businesses on quality systems

“Principles are self-evident. Principles apply at all times, in all places. Principles, unlike values, are objective and external. They operate in obedience to natural laws, regardless of conditions.”   Stephen R. Covey

 Readings in Natural Law


*Click on any of the highlighted phrases or readings below to learn more!

  • Principles are only true for all people if they are in harmony with NATURAL LAW
    Readings in Natural Law: Mere Christianity; The Abolition of Man– appendix; The Declaration of Independence; Letter from Birmingham Jail; Commentaries on the Laws of England, vol. 1; “God in the Dock”; “Education and the Pursuit of Happiness”; Understanding the Times; Tolstoy’s Journal; Second Treatise on Government; “The Nature of Natural Law”
  • The foundation of all true principles is FIRST PRINCIPLES
    Readings in First Principles: The Education of James Madison; Observations Upon Liberal Education; Thomas Reid’s Inquiry and Essays; The Federalist
  • A key human characteristic which encourages obedience to principles is CONSCIENCE                                                                                                                                                                 Readings in Conscience: Nurtured by Love; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Les Miserables; A Man for All Seasons; Resurrection; A Picture of Dorian Gray; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Only correct principles are true for all people: FALSE VS. TRUE PRINCIPLES
    Readings in False vs. True Principles: The Abolition of Man

*For Readings on Principles see the ‘Characteristics of Principles‘ page


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