My Revision Notes: OCR AS Religious Studies: Religious Ethics

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1 My Revision Notes: OCR AS Religious Studies: Religious Ethics Exam practice questions OCR G Answer guidance has not been written or approved by OCR. These are guidelines of what might be included but are by no means exhaustive or even the only way to answer the question. Chapter 1 1 (a) Explain the concept of relativist morality. [25] Start by explaining what is meant by relativism: actions may be right or wrong according to time, place, culture, religion, etc. Morality is not fixed. You could say that relativism opposes absolutism, which holds that moral truth is universal. You then need to explain that moral relativism sees the morality of actions as subjective and relative to the situation. You could give examples to illustrate this. To make your answer clearer you could also refer to normative theories which have relative applications such as Situation Ethics or Utilitarianism. You could use the examples of scholars such as Barclay, or your own examples to illustrate this. (b) Relativist ethics are unfair. Discuss. [10] You could argue in favour of the flexibility of moral relativism, and explain that moral rules vary according to culture, time, religion etc. and that this is not necessarily unfair, only different. On the other hand you could argue that an unchanging morality is essential to any normative system and may use examples such as stealing, killing, promise- keeping, etc. You could consider that relative ethics does not allow criticisms of the actions of others even when considering events such as the Holocaust. 2 (a) Explain what is meant by moral absolutism. [25] You need to explain that moral actions are right or wrong intrinsically and that consequences, situations etc. are not considered. You need to say that moral absolutism considers moral commands to be universally true. Use key terms such as deontological. You could refer to Divine Command theory, Natural Law and Kantian ethics to define different types of absolutism. To make your answer clearer you could contrast moral absolutism with relativism, and use examples to illustrate your answer. (b) Moral absolutism cannot be justified. Discuss. [10] You can support the statement by considering the advantages of a fixed, universal code. You could consider that some actions are always either right or wrong, e.g. murder, lying, and that some rules (such as the Ten Commandments) are necessary. Page 1

2 On the other hand, you could argue against moral absolutism as it is too rigid and takes no account of different circumstances or outcomes. You could also consider it intolerant of cultural diversity. You could give some examples from the ethical issues you have studied to support your arguments. 3 (a) Explain the differences between absolute and relative morality. [25] This could be answered by reference to subjectivism and objectivism in ethics. You could also explain the difference between calling a theory deontological or teleological. You could also explain the difference by reference to Natural Law, Kant s ethical theory, cultural relativism and consequentialism. You could contrast the idea of there being fixed moral norms for everyone, with the idea that they might vary from person to person, culture to culture or situation to situation. It is a good idea to give examples to illustrate this. To take the question further you might contrast ideas such as universality and truth with the idea that moral truth is difficult to identify. (b) Relativist theories give no convincing reason why people should be good. Discuss. [10] You could consider that there is a need for some absolute criteria, and that these exist across all societies, e.g. do not kill. Alternatively you could support a relativist viewpoint, considering that absolutism may seem intolerant of cultural diversity, and that relativism explains the differences in moral codes. Answers may consider that all ethical theories are based on universal principles, and that cultural relativism allows nothing to be condemned however distasteful or wrong it may seem. 4 (a) Explain how a moral relativist might approach the issues raised by abortion. [25] You need explain what is meant by moral relativism you could give particular examples of ethical theories which might be followed by a moral relativist, such as Utilitarianism or Situation Ethics. You could explain that a moral relativist has no absolute principles that apply to each situation, and so would not consider human life to have absolute value. You could discuss the fact that the issue of personhood is of little importance to a moral relativist. You could then explain that a moral relativist would look at each individual situation, consider those involved and the consequences of an abortion. You could conclude that a moral relativist would have no clear answer as to whether abortion is right or wrong as it would depend on each situation and those involved. You could give examples to illustrate this. (b) A relativist approach to the issues raised by abortion leads to wrong moral choices. Discuss. [10] You might argue that a relativist approach to abortion means that there are no clear guidelines so knowing that a right choice has been made is difficult. You could say that a moral relativist cannot consider all the consequences or the effects on those involved. Page 2

3 On the other hand you might argue that a relativist approach to abortion allows for individual needs and situations to be considered, such as genetic abnormalities in the foetus, the financial situation, the mental and physical health of the mother, etc. To improve your answer you could contrast a moral relativist approach with an absolutist one that gives clear moral guidelines. 5 (a) Explain the differences between deontological and teleological approaches to ethical decision- making. [25] This is a general question and a variety of approaches may be used. You could refer to ethical theories (but this is not necessary) which could be considered deontological or teleological, or they may give examples of the different approaches. Whichever approach you take you must explain the differences between deontological and teleological approaches and not just outline them. You could begin by explaining that deontological approaches to ethical decision making look at whether the action itself is right or wrong, whilst teleological approaches consider the consequences of an action. You could then explain that deontological theories are often more absolute and take account of motives and intentions, whereas teleological theories may be more relative and consider outcomes and purpose. You could use examples of deontological approaches to ethics such as Kantian ethics or Divine Command theory. Candidates may use examples such as lying or killing. Candidates may use Utilitarianism as an example of teleological ethics and explain how actions are judged good by bringing the best consequences to all. To make your answer even better you could consider that some ethical approaches have elements of both deontology and teleology such as Natural Law and the prima facie duties of W. D. Ross. (b) The ends justify the means. Discuss. [10] You could agree with this statement as long as a good result is obtained. But you could also argue that we cannot predict the consequences of our actions. You could say that personal responsibility for our actions is more important and there is no way that the ends justify the means as we cannot be sure of achieving those ends. You could say that the statement allows bad actions e.g. torture, so long as the right result is obtained. You might show that the probability of obtaining this result would need to be considered. You could also argue that it is only natural to consider the consequences when making ethical decisions. You could argue that the actions themselves are ethically neutral and can only be judged on the results they achieve. This may mean that the end justifies the means so that teleological ethics may give good results even if the means are not so good, e.g. killing a tyrant to free people from despotic rule. Page 3

4 Chapter 2 1 (a) Explain Natural Law theory. [25] You need to begin by giving an outline of Natural Law theory from Thomas Aquinas and/or its origins in Aristotle. You then need to explain how Natural Law in some ways is absolutist and depends on the idea that God created everything for a purpose. You could go on to consider that Natural Law gives a clear cut approach to morality and establishes common rules that are universal and based on reason. For example, you could consider the importance of its basic principles of preserving human life, and how these are common to all cultures. You could consider that this allows societies to have clear common rules and organise moral life. You need to explain the primary and secondary precepts and how the secondary precepts give some flexibility. You could also explain that Natural Law concentrates on human character and its potential for human goodness and flourishing, rather than on the rightness or wrongness of particular actions. You could consider the importance of both the intention and the act and even explain the doctrine of double effect. (b) Natural Law is not the best approach to euthanasia. Discuss. [10] You could start by discussing how Natural Law protects the sanctity of life, but does not consider the quality of life and the feelings and emotions of all those involved. Nor does it consider personal autonomy as it concentrates on the action alone. You could then contrast the Natural Law approach with that of Situation Ethics, which is also based on religion but considers the most loving action, or with Utilitarianism, which does consider the quality of life. You could point out that whereas a teleological approach considers the quality of life etc. it could lead to abuse as there are no clear guidelines and that Natural Law can seem too rigid, and you could argue for a proportional approach to the issue. 2 (a) Explain how a follower of Natural Law might respond to issues raised by genetic engineering. [25] This is a huge area so it is a good idea to state in your introduction that you are going to limit your reply to certain areas of genetic engineering. You need to begin by outlining Natural Law and the importance of a single purpose applicable to all humans. You could then explain that God has instilled in humans an inclination to act so that we achieve good and avoid evil, and that we discover this by using our reason. Go on to explain how the primary precepts reflect God s Eternal Law, and how the secondary precepts depend on our own judgement of what to do in any situation. You could then take each strand of genetic engineering separately, looking at issues such as GM foods and crops, GM animals, saviour siblings and attempts to eradicate certain genetic diseases. Or you could decide to limit your answer to looking at food and genetic selection to halt the passing on of genetic diseases. You could consider that Natural Law has the primary precept of self- preservation and from this can be inferred the secondary precept no genetic engineering of Page 4

5 humans as it destroys life, but that GM crops could be argued to save life by producing more food that is resistant to disease, pests and chemicals. However, you could also argue that genetic engineering can be justified as it preserves life by curing diseases, and that by using genetic engineering in this way we are in fact being co- creators with God rather than playing God. You could then point out that human beings are led by apparent goods that tempt them away from Natural Law. (b) All genetic engineering is ethically justified. Discuss. [10] You need to discuss and analyse the different approaches to genetic engineering. You could discuss the reasons for the genetic engineering and how it may, in the long run, bring relief to sufferers and improve their quality of life. It may lead to curing diseases that were once thought incurable and increase food production. On the other hand you need to question whether the techniques used are always ethical, for example the dependence of farmers using GM seed on the multinationals, the difficulty of predicting the long- term consequences of genetic engineering on society, etc. You need to discuss that some people find genetic engineering wrong as it interferes with nature, but that others can justify it as it improves human life. 3 (a) Explain how a follower of Natural Law might approach the issues surrounding abortion. [25] You will need to explain the basics of Natural Law as associated with Aquinas, influenced by Aristotle. You need to explain that Natural Law sees procreation as part of the purpose of human life. You could then explain that abortion is not considered to be a good act as it breaks the primary precepts of preservation of life and reproduction. You could also explain when a follower of Natural Law would consider the foetus to be a person and would also consider the issue of the Sanctity of Life. You could also explain that, for a follower of Natural Law, abortion destroys the purpose of sexual intercourse: procreation. You could also explain that society benefits when children are added to it and families are made happier with new additions abortion does not allow this purpose to be fulfilled. You could also explain that followers of Natural Law would not consider the people involved or their emotions, so they can make objective decisions (based on Natural Law). (b) Natural law has no serious weaknesses. Discuss. [10] You could claim that Natural Law gives a rational approach to morality and that its basic principles are common to all societies and peoples so that the purpose of morality is simply the fulfilment of our natures. You may see this as a major strength. Alternatively you could state that a major weakness is that there is no common human nature and that moral standards vary from culture to culture so Natural Law can make no claim to universality. You could discuss the religious basis of Aquinas Natural Law as both a strength and a weakness. Page 5

6 On the other hand you may not consider Natural Law to be the best approach to solving some ethical issue as it does not sufficiently consider the people involved or their situation, so may seem too harsh to apply to many emotional problems. 4 (a) Explain how Natural Law theory can be used to decide the right moral action. [25] You could start by explaining that the theory of Natural Law could be considered absolute and deontological, from the ideas of Aristotle, and that it states that certain acts are intrinsically right or wrong. Then go on to explain that Natural Law directs people to their divine purpose, and can be deduced through reason. Good acts are those that enable humans to fulfil their purpose, and are in accordance with the primary precepts. Then explain how the primary precepts lead to secondary precepts and how these may be applied to ethical issues to decide the right course of action. It is a good idea to give examples to illustrate this. You could explain that the secondary precepts are less absolute than the primary precepts. You could explain how the right course of action may be followed by choosing real as opposed to apparent goods. You could say that the primary precepts of Natural Law allow a person to follow basic principles common to all people and that the secondary precepts allow for some measure of flexibility. You could explain that the right course of action can be chosen using Natural Law as it not only involves reason, but also imagination, emotions and practical wisdom. (b) To what extent is Natural Law the best approach to ethical decision- making? [10] To write a very good response you would need to set criteria by which to judge whether Natural Law is the best approach. Looking at weaknesses will not necessarily give the answer required as they can be seen as subjective and dependent on individual viewpoints. You could consider all the advantages of Natural Law how it is simple and clear cut in its establishment of common rules. It avoids the problems of minorities and unforeseen consequences while concentrating on human character and its potential for goodness and flourishing. Then you could evaluate this by also discussing the impossibility of defining what is good, the uncertainty of any divine purpose or single human nature common to all. You might consider that consideration of both the act and the intention make Natural Law the best approach to ethical decision- making, or you could argue for an alternative approach that is more focused on the consequences such as Utilitarianism. It is a good idea to use examples of ethical decisions to illustrate your answer. Page 6

7 Chapter 3 1 (a) Explain Kant s theory of duty. [25] You need to start by explaining that Kant s theory of duty is deontological and focused on the idea of a moral law. You could then explain Kant s understanding of good will and duty and the link between them. Then explain the need to follow duty rather than emotions when deciding on the right course of action. You might explain that Kant saw moral statements as categorical and explain the Categorical Imperative and its various formulations. You might contrast the Categorical and Hypothetical Imperatives. In your answer you might refer to Kant s examples promise- keeping, suicide, waste of talent and helping others and explain how Kant rejected consequentialism. (b) To what extent is Kant s theory a good approach to embryo research? [10] You could argue that it is not a good approach as it does not give clear guidelines and it is not easy to apply the Categorical Imperative to an issue such as embryo research though it might depend why the embryos were being used for research and whether Kant would consider them to be human as they lack powers of reason. On the other hand you could argue that Kant s theory is useful as it protects human dignity and does not consider consequences or let emotions cloud the judgement. Finally you could consider an alternative ethical approach such as Utilitarianism, Situation ethics or Natural Law to be a better approach. 2 (a) Explain, with examples, Kant s theory of duty. [25] You need to start by explaining that Kant s theory of duty is deontological and focused on the idea of a moral law. You could then explain Kant s understanding of good will and duty and the link between them. Then explain the need to follow duty rather than emotions when deciding on the right course of action. You might explain that Kant saw moral statements as categorical and explain the Categorical Imperative and its various formulations. You might contrast the Categorical and Hypothetical Imperatives. To write a really good answer refer to Kant s own examples promise- keeping, suicide, waste of talent and helping others and explain how Kant rejected consequentialism. (b) Kant s ethical theory has no serious weaknesses. Discuss. [10] You may agree with the question, arguing that Kantian ethics are clear- cut and easy to apply. Then you could consider that doing one s duty means that ethical decisions are not influenced by feelings and inclinations, so that everyone is treated fairly. On the other hand you could argue that Kant s theory is too rigid, and does not tell us what to do in particular situations. You could then discuss the question of the conflict of duties. Good answers will consider that motives and consequences are also important. Page 7

8 3 (a) Explain Kant s argument for using the Categorical Imperative. [25] You need to explain Kant s Categorical Imperative and its basis in his theory of ethics. Then explain that the Categorical Imperative applies to everyone, and the different forms it may take: the formula of the law of nature, which universalises maxims without contradiction; the formula of end in itself, which means that we should not treat others as a means to an end; and the formula of a kingdom of ends, which means that we should act as if everyone is a free, autonomous agent. You might explain that, for Kant, moral precepts were rooted in rationality, were unconditional or categorical and presupposed freedom. Then explain the importance of a good will and doing one s duty. You could contrast the Categorical Imperative with the Hypothetical Imperative. In explaining Kant s reasons for arguing in support of each of the forms of the Categorical Imperative it is a good idea to use examples, possibly those of Kant. (b) The universalisation of maxims by Kant cannot be defended. Discuss. [10] You could start by arguing that Kant s theory is abstract and not easily applied to ethical situations. You could also consider that Kant s approach does not consider outcomes, that there are conflicts between duties and that there is no room for emotions. On the other hand, you could argue that Kant s understanding of universal maxims can be defended as it gives clear criteria to know which actions are moral, it respects human life, and the idea of duty means that we will always do what is right and not be swayed by emotions and feelings. You could argue that his rules are fair as they apply to everyone. 4 (a) Explain how a follower of Kantian ethics might approach issues surrounding the right to a child. [25] You need to explain the ethics of Kant and, as you do so, apply this to the right to a child. You could consider that Kantian ethics, following the Categorical Imperative, would require that people are treated as ends in themselves. If the embryo is considered a person, a follower of Kantian ethics would need to ask whether the destruction of so many embryos to create one life is justified. You could also consider the question of universalisation, and whether IVF is to be offered to every infertile couple. (b) The right to a child is an absolute right. Discuss. [10] It might be a good idea to start by explaining what you mean by a right. You could consider whether reproduction is a right, or whether a child is a gift. They may contrast right and duties. You could say that a child cannot be a right as life is a sacred gift and IVF etc. interferes with nature. You could also consider whether everyone should have the right to a child and reference could be made to IVF and surrogacy. You could also argue that the right to a child is relative depending on cost. However, you could also say that infertility is a condition that can be treated and that couples have a right to treatment so that they have a child that belongs to them biologically. Page 8

9 5 (a) Explain Kant s ethical theory. [25] At the beginning you need to set the scene and explain that Kant s theory is deontological and focused on the idea of a moral law. Then explain Kant s ideas of good will and duty and show that they are linked. Most importantly you need to explain the Categorical Imperative and its universalisability; and that people must be considered as ends in themselves and that people work towards a kingdom of ends. You could contrast this with the Hypothetical Imperative. You might explore the idea that moral statements are a priori synthetic. A good answer will include examples, preferably Kant s own. (b) Kant s theory of ethics is not a useful approach to abortion. Discuss. [10] To start with, it would be a good idea to consider what you mean by useful and for whom it might be a useful approach. You could consider how easy or difficult it would be to universalise abortion in a way that would encompass all the different reasons for carrying it out. You may consider the embryo is being used as a means to an end, and reject abortion, or you could question whether an embryo is a human being, and consider that Kant would allow abortion. You could discuss Kant s respect for the autonomy of the individual, and the importance for Kant of happiness playing no part in ethical decision- making and so how this prevents abortion for selfish motives. You could refer to inflexibility and good answers may refer to conflict of principles, and the fact that Kant s stress on acting out of duty alone means that there is no room for compassion and all consequences are ignored, whatever they may be. Page 9

10 Chapter 4 1 (a) Explain how Bentham s version of Utilitarianism can be used to decide the right course of action. [25] You will need to begin by giving an explanation of Utilitarianism the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its utility or usefulness, which is the amount of pleasure caused by the action. An action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number. You should then explain the hedonic calculus (Purity, Remoteness, Intensity, Certainty, Extent, Duration, Fecundity) and how it may be used to measure pleasure or pain. You could explain that Bentham s version of Utilitarianism is often known as Act Utilitarianism because the principle of utility must be applied to each individual situation and action. You need to give examples a good idea would be to take them from the issues you have studied in medical ethics. (b) Utilitarianism is the best approach to euthanasia. Discuss. [10] You need to begin by defining what you mean by the best approach and for whom it would be the best approach. You could contrast Utilitarianism with another approach such as Natural Law and/or you could evaluate the merits of the different types of Utilitarianism as an approach. You could discuss how Utilitarianism considers the quality of life but ignores the sanctity of life. You may consider that euthanasia is more acceptable to a Utilitarian, but you need to consider the long- term consequences if euthanasia were to be accepted in society. 2 (a) Explain how Utilitarians approach the issues of war. [25] You need to describe the different forms of Utilitarianism, including act, rule and preference, and how they could apply to war. Refer to the approaches of Bentham, Mill and Singer. Then explain that according to Utilitarianism war is fine if it produces more pleasure or happiness than pain. You need to explain that a Utilitarian may oppose war if the loss of life looks to be too great, and may even reassess their position as the war progresses. In your answer you could link Utilitarianism with the Just War criterion of likelihood of success. (b) Pacifism causes more harm than good. Discuss. [10] You need to start off by considering whether more harm than good might result from a pacifist position. Think about how pacifism would work if everyone in the world were pacifist yet, if this was the state of the world, how this would leave the innocent unprotected. You could contrast pacifism with Just War theory, or with the Utilitarian approach, and may ask whether pacifism is legitimate for individuals but different for societies. On the other hand, you could argue that pacifism is a clear- cut approach and respects the Sanctity of Life. Page 10

11 3 (a) Explain Mill s version of Utilitarianism. [25] A good beginning would be to explain how Mill developed Bentham s Utilitarianism. Then explain the principle of utility and give an outline of Mill s version of Utilitarianism which is based on the quality of pleasure, thus also avoiding the minorities being treated badly. You could explain Mill s rejection of animalistic pleasures and give examples to illustrate this. Go on to explain that Mill saw that happiness was the fulfilment of higher ideals and that pleasure should be universalisable. You could also consider that Mill saw the need for general guidelines that would be easier to use than the Hedonic calculus of Bentham. You could explain that acting morally will be seen to generate the most happiness so, for example, when this is applied to abortion, Mill would have to weigh up the pain caused by the abortion with the quality of pleasure gained by bringing up the child. You could add that Mill is commonly linked with Rule Utilitarianism, though it was not a name that he himself used. (b) Utilitarianism can lead to wrong moral decisions. Discuss. [10] You could consider the fact that we cannot accurately predict the future and can, therefore, make mistakes. You could discuss that there is potential to justify any act and so there is no defence for minorities. Then you could go on to consider that it is impractical to calculate the morality of each choice, and so people simply will not bother. You could argue that having general rules based on the principle of Utility would be a better approach. On the other hand, you might consider that Utilitarianism is democratic and practical, and so can deal with most moral situations. 4 (a) Explain the main differences between Act and Rule Utilitarianism. [25] You need to start by explaining that the terms Act and Rule were applied later not by Bentham and Mill themselves. You need to explain that Act Utilitarianism is associated with Bentham and that it applies the principle of Utility to each situation and each action. You could say that there are no moral rules except that the greatest happiness for the greatest number is sought in each situation. Explain that Act Utilitarianism is flexible and teleological and considers the consequences of an action. Discuss applying the Hedonic Calculus. In contrasting Act Utilitarianism with Rule Utilitarianism you could consider some of the main weaknesses of Act Utilitarianism: that there is potential to justify any act; that there is no defence for minorities, and that it is impractical to say that we should calculate the morality of each choice. You could explain that Rule Utilitarianism aims to establish rules on Utilitarian principles that benefit all in similar circumstances. It is a good idea to discuss the difference between strong and weak Rule Utilitarians you could say that weak Rule Utilitarians are little different from Act Utilitarians as they simply modify the rule. You could say that Rule Utilitarianism is commonly associated with Mill, although he did not use the term himself. You may consider that both approaches share some of the same weaknesses. Page 11

12 (b) To what extent is Utilitarianism a useful method of making decisions about euthanasia? [10] You need to begin by defining what you mean by a useful method and for whom it would be a useful method.. You could contrast Utilitarianism with another approach such as Natural Law and/or you could evaluate the merits of the different types of Utilitarianism as an approach. You could discuss how Utilitarianism considers the Quality of Life but ignores the Sanctity of Life. You may consider that euthanasia is more acceptable to a Utilitarian, but you need to consider the long- term consequences if euthanasia were to be accepted in society. 5 (a) Explain the Preference Utilitarianism of Peter Singer. [25] You need to explain the principle of Utility: the greatest good for the greatest number. Then explain how Peter Singer refines Utilitarianism by focusing on the seventh criteria of the Hedonic Calculus the number of people who will be affected by any pleasure or pain arising as a result of the act in question; and stating that they all need to be considered. You could explain earlier versions of Utilitarianism such as those of Bentham or Mill, but this should not be the focus of the question.. You could explain that an Act Utilitarian judges right or wrong according to the minimising of pain and the maximising of pleasure and a Rule Utilitarian judges right and wrong according to general Utilitarian rules, but a Preference Utilitarian such as Singer judges right and wrong according to whether they fit the rational preferences of the individuals involved. You need to explain Singer s approach to be that of the impartial spectator with all preferences counting as equal so that everyone involved is considered. They may say that for Singer the best consequences have to be what is in the best interests of all involved. It is a good idea to give examples to illustrate this. (b) To what extent is Preference Utilitarianism the best form of Utilitarianism? [10] You could consider some of the main weaknesses of all forms of Utilitarianism, for example the difficulty of weighing up consequences, the allowing of unjust results or actions, the victimisation of minorities, etc. and assess to what extent Preference Utilitarianism overcomes these. You could consider the fact that Preference Utilitarianism considers the interests of all sentient beings to be an advantage, but they may also say that this makes it difficult to make any decisions or to be sure that those decisions are right. You could however claim that Preference Utilitarianism does protect minorities and in considering the needs and preferences of individuals overcomes the charge that Utilitarianism is too impersonal and does not allow for personal responsibility. Page 12

13 Chapter 5 1 (a) Explain the ethical teachings of the religion you have studied. [25] You could start with biblical ethics and explain ethics as a result of religious belief, explaining the rules, duties and commands that come from revelation. You could also explain that religious ethical behaviour comes from a sense of obedience to God and a desire to live life in the way that God wants it to be lived. When explaining Christian ethics you can refer to and explain Natural Law and/or Situation Ethics. If you have studied a different world religion for your AS examination, such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism, you can explain the main principles of that religion. (b) Some religious ethics are too rigid for modern decision- making. Discuss. [10] Here you need to evaluate the deontological and teleological approaches to ethics in the context of religious ethics. You could argue that an absolutist approach is right and then explain why others reject this. If you are arguing from the viewpoint of Christian ethics you could consider that Christian ethics are mainly deontological and contrast this with a teleological approach such as Situation Ethics. It is a good idea to consider examples to illustrate your argument. 2 (a) Explain how the ethics of the religion you have studied might be applied to abortion. [25] The most obvious approach is to explain the main aspects of the religion you have studied and, if using Christianity, outline the differences between the application of Natural Law and of Situation Ethics. You could explain the concept of the Sanctity of Life, and how all life is considered sacred. Apply this to the embryo and consider the question of when life begins. You could consider the views of Christian churches and the opposing views of scholars such as Mary Ann Warren and Jonathan Glover. You might also consider the doctrine of double effect and weak sanctity of life. Your answer might also consider how Natural Law looks at the act of abortion itself, without considering the situation or the consequences. You might discuss the role of the primary and secondary precepts. You might discuss Situation Ethics and the fact that each case is unique so abortion needs to be considered in the light of the most loving thing to do in each situation. You may approach the question using the ethics of any religion. (b) Religious ethics fail to consider consequences. Discuss. [10] You could contrast the deontological approach of some Biblical ethics and interpretations of Natural Law with the consequentialist approach of Situation Ethics or other teleological theories. You could consider the link between happiness/pleasure and the Golden Rule. You could argue that Situation Ethics in some ways considers consequences, but that love is an abiding ethic in all religious ethics. Page 13

14 3 (a) Explain the ethical principles of the religion you have studied in relation to war. [25] You might start by discussing the four main religious approaches to war: holy war, Just War theory, pacifism and realism. The main part of your answer should concentrate on explaining the Just War theory and pacifism. You could explain the conditions for when it is right to fight and how a war should be fought. Your answer could include an explanation of why certain religions and Christian denominations hold a pacifist position You could include Christian realism and the work of Niebuhr, who said that force was sometimes necessary to maintain a just society as human nature was essentially evil. War in this sense is seen as morally acceptable if it helped society as a whole. You can answer from the ethical principles of any religion studied for your AS examination. (b) War should not be allowed even as a last resort. Discuss. [10] You can take the pacifist position and reject any form of violence as a means of settling disputes between countries, including self- defence. You could back this up with either religious or philosophical reasons. You may consider that the loss of life, and/or economic and social damage to be too great. Alternatively you could defend a Just War or realist approach, allowing war when all other avenues have failed. Good answers will consider different views on this topic. 4 (a) Explain how the followers of the religion you have studied make ethical decisions. [25] You could start by considering the basis of Christian ethics in the Bible. They may discuss the ethics of Jesus, for example from the Sermon on the Mount, and the teachings of Paul in his epistles. You could say that the followers of Christian ethics may base their ethical decisions on the teachings of love and explain what this means in practice. Alternatively you could explain that followers of Christian ethics may base their decisions on an ethical theory that is followed by Christians such as Natural Law or Situation Ethics. You then need to give an outline of these theories and explain how ethical decisions are made. You could also discuss the role of conscience in making ethical decisions and the teachings of particular churches. You could discuss the way in which followers of any religion studied make ethical decisions. (b) Morality and religion are separate. Discuss. [10] You could use Divine Command theory to argue both ways on this question. You could say that our moral intuition is innate and God- given, or that our conscience is simply the product of our society and up- bringing Alternatively you could argue that it is unacceptable for any religious belief to require unqualified obedience to God s commands if it means abandoning personal autonomy. You could say that the rightness or wrongness of an action comes from the action itself. Page 14

15 You can use non- religious ethical theories such as Utilitarianism to argue that morality is separate from religion. On the other hand you could argue that religion has given us moral guidelines which are universal such as Do not murder and Love your neighbour as yourself. 5 (a) Explain the main ethical principles of the religion you have studied with regard to genetic engineering. [25] You could start by explaining that the Sanctity of Life is key to the religious ethical approach to genetic engineering. You could use specific examples of genetic engineering to explain that any technique which does not treat life as having intrinsic worth is wrong this includes any form of genetic engineering that destroys embryos. Then you could go on to explain that religious ethics may not have the same concerns about the genetic engineering of animals or plants. You could also discuss the subject of using adult stem cells. You could take a Natural Law approach to the value of human life, but may also consider the value of genetic engineering to help individuals and society while still respecting human life. You could consider the teachings of different Christian churches on this subject or may approach the issue from the point of view of any religion studied. IVF per se is not a form of genetic engineering unless genetic selection takes place you need to make this clear. (b) Religious ethics prevents progress in genetic engineering. Discuss. [10] You need to discuss the extent to which religious ethics actually impede the progress of science with regards to genetic engineering. You could approach this question either way. You could argue that the stress on the preservation of life from conception means that genetic engineering that uses foetal material is not allowed. However, you could point to the advances in science and how much genetic engineering now uses adult stem cells so religious ethics would not prevent progress. You could also discuss what is meant by progress, and whether religious ethics act as important brakes on genetic engineering, by considering the person, the effects on the environment and how we treat animals and plants. 6 (a) Explain how the followers of the religion you have studied justify going to war. [25] You may approach this answer using the ethics of any religion studied e.g. the Lesser Jihad in Islam and Ahimsa in Hinduism. Note that Buddhism would not justify going to war. You could explain teachings from religious texts such as the Bible or Qur an, using perhaps the concept of Holy War or Lesser Jihad. You could discuss the jus ad bellum criteria of Just War Theory explaining just cause, legitimate authority, right intention, likelihood of success, proportionality and last resort. You could consider the teachings of scholars such as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Francisco de Vitoria and Francisco Suarez. It is a good idea to give examples from actual wars to illustrate your answers. Page 15

16 You could also explain the pacifist approach and how some followers of religion would never decide to go to war. Taking your answer further you might even consider a Christian Realist approach to war such as that of Niebuhr. (b) Religious believers should be pacifist. Discuss. [10] You could start by discussing that many religious followers choose to be pacifist, as were the early Christians. You need to explain the biblical basis for this. A Buddhist approach might agree with this statement but needs to contain an evaluative argument. You could discuss the approach of particular groups within Christianity such as the Quakers, and you could even include the influence of mainstream Christians such as Thomas Merton and Walter Wink. You could also consider that religious followers consider that the protection of human life to be of the utmost importance and so sometimes pacifism is not the right approach as it does not allow for the protection of the innocent, or self- defence as Elizabeth Anscombe pointed out. You are free to argue either way using evidence from your studies. Page 16

17 Chapter 6 1 (a) Explain how belief in the Sanctity of Life may influence ethical approaches to abortion. [25] You need to start by explaining the origins of the Sanctity of Life in biblical teaching, implying that life is sacred and worthy of respect. You need to explain that Christians believe that human life is created by God in his image and taking life is intrinsically wrong this also applies to unborn life. You could argue that the Sanctity of Life implies that life is sacred from conception, and so abortion would not be allowed. A good answer would explain the difference between strong Sanctity of Life arguments and weak Sanctity of Life arguments. (b) A foetus is not a person. Discuss. [10] You could disagree with the statement, saying that life begins at conception, but you could also argue that birth marks the beginning of true moral status and a foetus is not a person any more than a sperm is a person. It is a good idea to define personhood as consciousness, rationality, etc. But you could also argue against this as young babies do not qualify as persons according to this definition. You could discuss medical problems such as inherited diseases, ectopic pregnancies, social considerations in connection to a foetus. It would be good to discuss the problems surrounding concepts of soul and personhood. The question of potential person may be discussed. You could raise the issue of twins and viability. 2 (a) Explain how the ethics of the religion you have studied would approach the issues surrounding abortion. [25] The most obvious approach is to explain the main aspects of the religion you have studied and, if using Christianity, outline the differences between the application of Natural Law and of Situation Ethics. You could explain the concept of the Sanctity of Life, and how all life is considered sacred. Apply this to the embryo and consider the question of when life begins. You could consider the views of Christian Churches and the opposing views of scholars such as Mary Ann Warren and Jonathan Glover. You might also consider the doctrine of double effect and weak Sanctity of Life. Your answer might also consider how Natural Law looks at the act of abortion itself, without considering the situation or the consequences. You might discuss the role of the primary and secondary precepts. You might discuss Situation Ethics and the fact that each case is unique so abortion needs to be considered in the light of the most loving thing to do in each situation. You may approach the question using the ethics of any religion. (b) Religious ethics fail to consider consequences. Discuss. [10] You could contrast the deontological approach of some Biblical ethics and interpretations of Natural Law with the consequentialist approach of Situation Ethics or other teleological theories. You could consider the link between happiness/pleasure and the Golden Rule. Page 17

18 You could argue that Situation Ethics in some ways considers consequences, but that love is an abiding ethic in all religious ethics. 3 (a) Explain the strengths of Kant s theory of ethics. [25] At the beginning you need to set the scene and explain that Kant s theory is deontological and focused on the idea of a moral law. Then explain Kant s ideas of good will and duty and show that they are linked. Most importantly you need to explain the categorical imperative and its universalisability, that people must be considered as ends in themselves, and that people work towards a kingdom of ends. You could contrast this with the Hypothetical Imperative. You might explore the idea that moral statements are a priori synthetic. A good answer will include examples, preferably Kant s own. (b) Kant s theory of ethics is not a useful approach to abortion. Discuss. [10] To start with, it would be a good idea to consider what you mean by useful and for whom it might be a useful approach. You could consider how easy or difficult it would be to universalise abortion in a way that would encompass all the different reasons for carrying it out. You could consider the embryo is being used as a means to an end, and reject abortion, or you could question whether an embryo is a human being, and consider that Kant would allow abortion. You could discuss Kant s respect for the autonomy of the individual and the importance for Kant of happiness playing no part in ethical decision- making and how this prevents deciding on abortion for selfish motives. You could refer to inflexibility and good answers may refer to conflict of principles, and the fact that Kant s stress on acting out of duty alone means that there is no room for compassion and all consequences are ignored whatever they may be. 4 (a) Explain how a moral relativist might approach the issues raised by abortion. [25] You need to explain what is meant by moral relativism you could give particular examples of ethical theories that might be followed by a moral relativist, such as Utilitarianism or Situation Ethics. You could say that a moral relativist has no absolute principles that apply to each situation, and so would not consider human life to have absolute value. You could discuss the fact that the issue of personhood is of little importance to a moral relativist. You could say that a moral relativist would look at each individual situation, consider those involved and the consequences of an abortion. You could conclude that a moral relativist would have no clear answer as to whether abortion is right or wrong as it would depend on each situation and those involved. It is a good idea to give examples to illustrate this. (b) A relativist approach to the issues raised by abortion leads to wrong moral choices. Discuss. [10] You could argue that a relativist approach to abortion means that there are no clear guidelines so knowing that a right choice has been made is difficult. You could say Page 18

19 that a moral relativist cannot consider all the consequences or the effects on those involved. On the other hand you could argue that a relativist approach to abortion allows for individual needs and situations to be considered such as genetic abnormalities in the foetus, the financial situation, the mental and physical health of the mother, etc. You could contrast a moral relativist approach with an absolutist one that gives clear moral guidelines. 5 (a) Explain how a follower of Natural Law might approach the issues surrounding abortion. [25] You will need to explain the basics of Natural Law as associated with Aquinas, influenced by Aristotle. You need to explain that Natural Law sees procreation as part of the purpose of human life. You could then explain that abortion is not considered to be a good act as it breaks the primary precepts of preservation of life and reproduction. You could also explain when a follower of Natural Law would consider the foetus to be a person and would also consider the issue of the Sanctity of Life. You could also explain that for a follower of Natural Law abortion destroys the purpose of sexual intercourse: procreation. You could also explain that society benefits when children are added to it and families are made happier with new additions abortion does not allow this purpose to be fulfilled. You could also explain that followers of Natural Law would not consider the people involved or their emotions, and so can give a clear decision. (b) Natural law has no serious weaknesses. Discuss. [10] You could claim that Natural Law gives a rational approach to morality and that its basic principles are common to all societies and peoples so that the purpose of morality is simply the fulfilment of our natures. You may see this as a major strength. Alternatively you could state that a major weakness is that there is no common human nature and that moral standards vary from culture to culture so Natural Law can make no claim to universality. You could discuss the religious basis of Aquinas Natural Law as both a strength and a weakness. On the other hand you may not consider Natural Law to be the best approach to solving some ethical issue as it does not sufficiently consider the people involved or their situation, so may seem too harsh to apply to many emotional problems. 6 (a) Explain how the issue of personhood might influence ethical approaches to abortion. [25] You need to explain the various concepts of personhood and whether this applies to a foetus. You could give various definitions of personhood, such as genetic structure, consciousness, self- awareness, ability to reason, etc. You could explain the criteria of Mary Anne Warren or the analogy of the violinist from Judith Jarvis Thompson. You could also consider the ideas of Peter Singer on personhood. Page 19

20 The idea of ensoulment might be explained, and actuality versus potentiality could be discussed. You could discuss at which stage a foetus becomes a person. You might then explain how these ideas of personhood might influence the approaches of followers of different ethical theories such as Natural Law, Utilitarianism, etc. You could explain that the concept of personhood would influence religious ethics and the approach of Natural Law, but have little impact on the approach of Utilitarianism, while it is unsure whether Kant would consider the foetus a person or not. (b) The right to life is the most important issue when discussing abortion. Discuss. [10] You could discuss whether potential life has any rights and whether a fertilised egg has a right to be born. You could consider the arguments surrounding the Sanctity of Life and compare these to the arguments surrounding the Quality of Life. You could also discuss the application of the Doctrine of Double Effect. You could discuss whether the right to life of the mother or that of the foetus is the most important and whether the embryo has the right to use the mother s body and resources to sustain its own life. You could also discuss the importance of happiness and consequences and say that both approaches have both advantages and disadvantages. Good responses might discuss why right to life might be important and what might be more important. Page 20

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