The purpose of law in Aristotle, Aquinas, and King

In Book 2, chapter 1 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle asserts that “the activity of legislators is evidence that virtue is acquired by habituation, for legislators try to make citizens good by habituating them. Habituation is what makes the difference between a good political system and a bad one.” Thus Aristotle argues that the purpose of law is to create good habits in citizens.

In the Summa Theologiae, II-i Question 94, article 2, Thomas Aquinas argues that natural law is based on the natural inclinations of human beings to seek the goods of human life, such as life itself, reproduction, education of children, following reason, and knowledge of God and the world. The purpose of human laws, according to Aquinas, is to support and protect those goods of human life identified by natural law.

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On p. 721 of the copy of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” which I gave you, Martin Luther King, Jr. defines a just law as “any law which uplifts human personality.” Thus he argues that the purpose of human law is to uplift human personality.

Develop your own thesis on the purpose of human-made lawsand write a paper to defend your thesis. Use the views of Aristotle, Aquinas, and King to develop your thesis. Even if you disagree with their views, read the passages I have cited above (all the texts are under “Files” on the course website) and explain them in Part 4 of your paper. Illustrate your thesis with examples of laws which support your thesis.

Please write this paper in the same format you used for the first and second papers:
1) A title
2) A statement of the claim you will be defending. This is both the thesis of your paper and the conclusion of your stepped argument (part 3).
3) An explicit argument for your claim, with numbered premises and conclusion.
4) A discussion of your argument, where you explain your premises and conclusion more fully. Usually the premises of an argument will themselves require some defense or justification. This is the section of your paper where you should do that.
5) An objection to your argument.
6) A reply to that objection.

The thesis you develop will be the claim of your paper (part 2) and the conclusion of your explicit argument for your claim (part 3).

Your thesis should be a single proposition, and each of the premises which support your thesis in your explicit argument should be a single proposition.

Rubric for papers
(1) Respond to every part of the prompt.
(2) Write complete sentences; use periods at the end of your sentences.
(3) Proofread carefully. Make sure there are not more than two misspelled or seriously misused words in your paper.
(4) Accurately represent the views of any author you discuss.
(5) Satisfy the word-count minimum.
(6) Avoid rhetorical questions.

Papers which satisfy all of these criteria will receive an A or a B. Papers which do not satisfy all of these criteria will receive a C, D, or F depending on how close they come to being a paper which is at least “good” (a B) because it satisfies all the criteria. In Appendix A of the course syllabus, there is a more detailed rubric for evaluating papers.

Your paper should be at least 1,000 words in length. If you need to make it longer to cover the topic, you may.

Other Requirements for your paper

Please use Times New Roman, 12-point type, with one-inch margins on all sides.
Please double space your work.
Please read your paper aloud to yourself before you submit your final draft.

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