Moral Knowledge via Connaturality
Jacques Maritain's notion of moral knowledge via Connaturality (or by way of natural inclination) appears to alleviate the above problems. It is not that we have an innate knowledge of moral principles, rather we have a natural inclination toward moral action and judgment. This incliniation may be refined or distorted. It may be refined by a good upbringing and a reflective character, or it may be distorted by a poor upbringing and an uninteresting character.
In support of this view is the universal fact of moral judgment. We may grant the fact that various cultures differ in their normative prescriptions. However, we are still left with the fact that all cultures have some sort of normative standards. If it is the case that action flows from a things nature or essence, then it would appear that man is by nature a moral being. He cannot help but condemn wrong action and praise noble actions. Even if he is confused about the moral rightness or wrongness of a particular action, he is not ignorant of the fact that there are right and wrong actions.
What then is the immediate epistemological grounds of our moral knowledge? Man is. Our nature cannot help but tend toward some sort of morality. Philosophy's primary task is not to justify the objectivity of morality, rather its job is to reflect on and elucidate the principles inherent in the nature of man. Of course as Christians, this is not enough. This is rather the beginning point for our inquiry into the study of morality. Ultimately, there must have been a Cause of our essence who pointed our nature in a particular direction. That Cause is God.
Any thoughts? Criticisms? Has anyone here read anything by Maritain on Natural Law?