Ethical Theories: AS OCR Religious Studies

Basically a booklet on AS OCR Ethical Theories if you didn't get that from the title. Pretty detailed, I'm pretty sure it would get you a high mark on a question about it. Some is mine and my teacher's work, however some has come from pages on Get Revising and other bits have come from textbooks such as OCR Philosophy and Ethics by Taylor, Eyre and Knight, Ethical Theory by Mel Thompson and Ethical Studies by Robert Bowie. Ummm so yeah if you can be bothered reading it then do, it helped me :)

HideShow resource information
Preview of Ethical Theories: AS OCR Religious Studies

First 465 words of the document:

Ethical Theories
Approaches to Ethics
Descriptive Ethics: Simple describes the way people in different societies actually behave. It doesn't
examine issues of right and wrong.
Normative Ethics: Examines issues of right and wrong and how people justify the decisions they
make when faced with situations of moral choice.
The Ring of Gyges: Plato's republic tells of a shepherd who discovers a ring that would make its
bearer invisible. Behaving `like a god among men' he is able to do whatever he likes without getting
caught. However, would there be any difference between a moral and an immoral person given the
same ring?
A key theme in Plato's `republic' is that it is better to be moral than immoral. If we had
absolute freedom would we still obey moral principles? Is there value in being moral apart from the
benefits of doing right? Is there value in being moral irrespective of whether or not you might get
Key terms:
Absolutist: An objective moral rule or value that is always true in all situations and for all people-
expressed by the ancient Stoics as `Let justice be done though the heavens fall'. It relies on fixed
truth and absolutists believe an act is either right or wrong, no matter what the circumstances are.
For example, murder is always wrong.
Relativist: A relativist approach would take circumstances into consideration because it is related to
the situation and not to any fixed rules. The relativist approach goes back to the ancient Greeks;
Protagoras said nothing was absolutely good or bad, but everyone decides for themselves
according to the time and place in which they are living.
Objective: Judgements are based on an impartial absolute value system. Something is always right or
wrong, it doesn't depend on circumstances.
Subjective: Judgements are based on personal opinion and not on any fixed rules. Each person's
values and beliefs are relative to that person alone and can't be judged externally or objectively.
Deontological: Refers to an action that is inherently right or wrong. No account is taken of
circumstances or outcome. Actions are intrinsically right or wrong. The term is traditionally associated
with Kantian duty, but can also be linked to ethical systems that uphold absolute moral norms and
human rights. Deontologists hold that one can't undertake immoral acts even if the outcome is
morally preferable.
Teleological: Ethical theories that establish the rightness or wrongness of a given act by any
consideration of the consequences. It is concerned with the purpose or ultimate goal of something.
Origins of morality

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Ethical thinking originated from Ancient Greece, from the time of Homer, (Eighth century BCE) when
being good meant being a heroic warrior; noble, courageous and strong. This was then further
developed through the scriptures of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who looked at the idea of
character and virtue. So, the majority of the citizens of Greece were absolutists; they believed that
good was being warrior-like.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

For a Moral absolutist the end can never justify the means;
Aldous Huxley ­ "The end cannot justify the means, for the simple and obvious reason that the
means employed determine the nature of the ends produced."
For some Moral absolutist, the intention behind the act is also important. Aquinas distinguished
between exterior and interior acts. He said that to act in a good way for the wrong reason is to
perform a good exterior act but a bad interior act.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

Cultural Relativism observes what is right in that particular society in that particular time. Moral
Relativism goes beyond just observing and makes a postulate (proposal). It observes what is right
according to that society at that time and assumes it is right ONLY according to that particular society.
No Absolutes:
For a moral relativist nothing is intrinsically (always) right or wrong. The outcome of a situation is
always considered.…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

Sometimes it is best to think about a situation logically rather than use rules to decipher what
is right and wrong
Judgements are always subjective
No two people may agree on a judgement
Relativism does not allow a society to progress e.g.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Ethics resources:

See all Ethics resources »See all resources »