Ethical Theories Key Information

OCR G572 spec.

Act and Rule Utilitarianism, Kant, Situation Ethics, Cultural relativism, Natural Law

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  • Created by: Satta F.
  • Created on: 03-06-12 23:40
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Ethical Theory Philosophers Characteristics Main aim Method Strengths Weaknesses
Act Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham Teleological Greatest Use reason to determine actions Flexible/adaptable Can be difficult to
Consequentialist amount of for yourself Allows rules to be weigh up all factors
relativist happiness for broken if necessary Problem of prediction
the greatest If many break rules,
society collapses
People can be used as
a means to an end
Rule Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill Teleological Follow societies moral rules Maintains discipline Too inflexible
Consequentialist Gives clear guidance Laws can be
absolutist Relieves the burden of conflicting
decision making Who has the right to
create the rules?
Categorical Kant Deontological Everyone Use reason Gives clear guidance Too strict
Imperative Non-consequential should act Universalization Stops people being used Maxims can be
ist absolutist according to Do your duty as a means to an end contradictory
their duty Excludes selfish motives Assumes everyone
would reach the same
Situation Ethics Joseph Fletcher Teleological To create the Apply the rule of love (agape) to Flexible/adaptable Difficult to weigh up
Consequentialist greatest every situation Allows rules to be all factors
relativist amount of broken if necessary Problem of prediction
Cultural relativism Relativist Allow Do not impose moral values on Tolerates cultural Allows cultures to do
different other societies. Follow the moral diversity things that people see
moral values of your own. Supports freedom as unacceptable
systems to Adaptable/flexible Could lead to conflicts
exist in
Easy to follow

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Undermines universal
societies human rights
Natural Law St Thomas Aquinas Deontological To bring The purpose of something Gives clear guidance Too inflexible
Non-consequential about a good indicates what should and should Sees nature as positive Has led to very strict
ist absolutist worlds by not be done. and a good guide for our rules of debatable
discerning behaviour value (E.…read more


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