OCR AS R.S. Philosophy and Ethics notes

AS notes for OCR Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics

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  • Created on: 27-01-16 10:41
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Absolutism & Relativism
o Situation ethics
Utilitarianism (teleological )
Mill (Rule)
o "better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied"
o avoidance of pain ahead of self pleasure ­ general rules need to be enforced to
bring this about
o higher pleasures ­ reading, discussing, learning, painting
o lower pleasures ­ eating, sex, grooming
Bentham (Act)
o "greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people"
o have to look at outcome to determine goodness of action ­ really asking what is
most pleasurable ­ a hedonist
o Hedonic Calculus ­ Duration, Intensity, Propinquity (proximity), Extent, Certainty,
Purity, Fecundity (lead to more?)
Singer (Preference)
o "our preference cannot count any more than the preference of others"
o moral action is done in the best interest of the greatest number of people rather
than pleasure
o Relies on accurate predictions of outcomes
o Hard to define others' happiness
o What about if wrong motive leads to right outcome?
Kantian Ethics (deontological, absolutist )
Duty bound
o Good will drives Duty
o Hypothetical imperative
o Categorical imperative
o 1st ­ Universalization, if acceptable for all to do it in same circumstance
o 2­ treat people as ends to a means, not means to an end
o 3rd ­ Kingdom of Ends, setting example, if action can establish a universal law
Natural Law (absolute ) - Cicero
Aristotle ­ anything that prevents or interferes with the purpose for which something it
created is wrong
Aquinas ­ "our purpose is to do what God intended of us"
o Primary precepts
1 ­ preserve life
2 ­ procreate

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­ educate
4 ­ live peacefully in society
5 ­ worship God
o Secondary precepts ­ have to be interpreted in the context
o Evaluation
Based on reason. Gives good guidance. Straightforward.
Inflexible. Based on perceived sense of purpose. Have to believe in God.
Ignores individual situations.…read more

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o Self-awareness
Islam ­ ensoulment at 16 weeks
Definitions for start of life
o Potentiality ­ potential to be human is human
o Conception ­ Catholicism uses this
o Primitive streak ­ 14th day, first signs of cells becoming specialised
o Viability ­ 20-24 weeks
o Consciousness - awareness
o Pre-existence ­ Hinduism, Buddhism, reincarnation of soul, intrinsic worth.…read more

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Analogy of the cave
Cave ­ our world
Chains ­ human desires that restrict from finding truth
Shadows ­ copy of forms
Fire ­ minimal form of good on this world
Puppets ­ copies from WoF
Difficult ascent ­ hard to get to truth
Blinded ­ hard to see truth
See shadows, then reflections, then actual object ­ slowly starting to see
o World of Forms
A priori
Eternal, immutable
Good > Truth, Justice, Beauty > concepts/ideals > physical living beings >
inanimate objects…read more

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Bible demonstrates goodness of god
The Ten Commandments and laws ­ teaches how to act good
Good behaviour is rewarded e.g. Abraham
Goodness may not be understood by humans e.g. Job
o Euthyphro dilemma
God as judge/lawgiver
o God as parent ­ laying down law so show boundaries and help do good e.g.
Honour thy parents
o 10 commandments ­ rules on how to live a good life.…read more

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God interact with universe?
can't apply same logic to everything
necessary being as one who "must and cannot not exist", nothing
is contingent
principle of sufficient reason (Leibniz) ­ must be a sufficient,
non-contingent and eternal reason for universe
Russell ignores problems of universe
why is there a need for a first cause? Can there be multiple
Just because we can see cause & effect doesn't imply there is none
­ can be infinite regression
no experience of cause, therefore no evidence…read more

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Moral evil ­ humans purposely disobeying God
Dostoyevsky ­ "so much evil and suffering you can't justify creating it"
Evil existed before humans (science)
Only applicable to believers ­ salvation to few who accept Jesus
Scheiermacher ­ "either world not made perfect or God created evil"
Darwinism ­ not made perfect.…read more


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