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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




Religious Ethics for A2 ­ OCR
Free Will and Determinism:

There are three main approaches to freedom:
1. Hard Determinism: Humans cannot be morally blameworthy because their actions are determined.
2. Soft Determinism: Some human actions are determined but we still have moral responsibility.…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




+ Promotes the idea of rehabilitation over punishment. This will mean those who `do wrong'
will be fixed and can then be forgiven.
+ It is wrong to punish people if they are not responsible so if you're fixing them then you
avoid an…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




sense to us, forces on us the idea that we are free so we cannot get rid of the idea we are
free without ceasing to see ourselves as the originator of our actions.
Steven Pinker: looked at it from another angle. We Looked…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




Main Arguments for Libertarianism:

1. Most common argument is that we see ourselves as free agents, not robots. We commonly
have the experience of a self- determining creature. We blame ourselves when we do
wrong and we have the experience in deciding between `tea…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




Learning Approach:

Also known as the `behavioural approach'.
"It's all due to experience."
John Watson said `behaviour can be predicted and controlled' and that we learn from
observing our environment and the people in it.

Physiological Approach:

Also known as the `biological approach'.
Looks…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




Historically our climate contributes to our actions as it affects the behaviour of our society.
E.g. tropical climates = laziness and promiscuity; Europe = Hard working.

The Role of the Conscience

Conscience is our moral sense of right and wrong.
4 key questions to…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




Critical Evaluation:

Aquinas' view has certain weaknesses:

1. The same natural yet ethical laws guide all human beings. Different societies may have
different moral laws and as a result their consciences may vary.
2. The conscience of each human-being points to the `Telos' of…

Page 8

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




Didn't believe in any absolute moral laws, and held that all our moral codes are shaped by our
experiences. Culturally dependent, explaining the varieties of moral codes in different
societies.
1. The Super-Ego: Set of moral controls given to us by outside influences. It…

Page 9

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




- How is it possible to rise above alienation if we are determined to be alienated?
+ Fromm argued that to be set free it is necessary to be conscious/a person of conscience.
- Critics argue Fromm analysed the situation but didn't establish the…

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May 2011 Religious Ethics Harry Townsend




It is the analysis of ethical language. It goes beyond the ethical theories to look at what is
meant by the terms we use in ethics.
Ethical statements are not just about observable facts, but are often statements about what
we believe should happen…

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