Religious Ethics AS


  • introduction to ethical studies
  • moral relativism and absolutism
  • explanation of the key specified ethical approaches (Kantian, Utilitarian, Natural Law and Christian)
  • practical application to ethical issues (abortion, euthanasia, genetic modification and war)
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  • Created by: Morag
  • Created on: 29-04-13 13:10
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Religious Ethics Revision

Key ethical terms
Descriptive ethics- describing people ethical behaviour and giving reasons for it. Empirical
study- observed
Normative ethics-`ought' or `should' a norm is a rule or standard, what you should do. Ethical
theory and practical/applied ethics
Meta-ethics- Beyond ethics. Concerned with the meaning of ethical…

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Plato's argument is psychological: if you act immorally, you mind (or `soul') will not be
at peace, but at war, with itself
No one who is rational and self-interested would act morally if they can get away
with cheating. Plato responds saying that acting unjustly causes us to experience

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Raises the question of where morality comes from and what authority moral
demands have
What is the point of behaving to my detriment?
Corresponds with our intuitions of what being moral is
Allows for altruism

Moral relativism
Greater understanding of other cultures
Allows for the development of competing…

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A real good is something which is good- something that is in line with God's purposes
in nature
Natural Law Theory doesn't say that anything that is `natural', i.e. occurs in nature, is
good and that anything `unnatural' is bad, the key idea is God-given purpose
Some ideas about…

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You must universalise your maxims without contradiction and only if this is possible is
it a categorical imperative
Kant uses promise-keeping as an example:
o I cannot constantly will that promise-breaking for my own self-interest
should be a universal law. If I try to make a universal law of the…

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Ethical theory developed to establish whether something is good or bad according
to its benefit for the majority of people
Utility here means the usefulness of the results of actions
Often expressed as `the greatest good of the greatest number'
`Good' is defined in terms of pleasure or happiness- an…

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Equal consideration of equal interests
An interest is something through which one is or can be affected
Utilitarianism states you have an interest in things that affect your happiness
Interests are defined by the preferences of the bearer of the interests
Preferences are subjective
The bearer is any organism that…

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Not necessarily inconsistent with consequentialist thinking but `happiness' and `good'
are defined in objective terms as having their origin in God's will
`happiness' cannot be understood in terms of pain or pleasure, or subjective
preferences, or happiness in earthly life
The key principles are:
o Jesus is the model or…

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War and peace
The crusades
Pope roused the people and urged them to come forward and fight
Proclaimed holy war against Islam for the holy city of Jerusalem in the name of God
1096 between 60,000 and 100,000 people walked to Jerusalem. The pilgrimage
lasted 3 years
A `foreign race'…

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Not many wrongs that only violent measures can set straight
More complete than just war theory
Grounded in faith, hope and realism
Arguments from religious authority
Jesus taught that his followers should not return evil with evil
Jesus' teachings follow from the old testament prophets
In the early church, Christians…


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