Sexual Ethics and Applied Ethical theories

This resource offers a summary of each ethical theory and the ethical theories applied to the issues surrounding sex and relationships. I have missed out Religious Ethics because I have no intention of answering that question if it comes up.

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  • Created by: Kaya
  • Created on: 15-06-15 07:43
Preview of Sexual Ethics and Applied Ethical theories

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Sexual Ethics
as approached by:
Virtue Ethics
Kantian Ethics
Religious Ethics
Natural Law Theory

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Religious Studies
Sexual Ethics
Kantian Ethics
Sex is an enormously wide term covering a range of issues from
homosexuality to marriage, from pornography to prostitution, to
the relational dimensions which are expressions of love and
pleasure. It is a basic and fundamental part of being human and
involves above all how men and women should treat each other.
The Categorical Imperative causes Immanuel Kant to take a
conservative approach to sex in many ways.…read more

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Kant believed that in having sex, we were allowing someone to
use us to fulfil their desires (as a means to and end). We can only
do so if we first get married, giving ourselves to the other person
in law, so that we have a common will. "If i yield myself
completely to another and obtain the person of the other in
return, I win myself back [...] In this way the two person become
a unity of will.…read more

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Kantian ethicists are only concerned with rational beings, non-
rational beings are not capable of making moral decisions as they
are not autonomous, self-ruling or free.
This means that young children, adults with severe learning
difficulties and those under the influence of alcohol or drugs
cannot be said to be rational and are therefore not capable of
giving consent.
Other sexual issues:
Masturbation: Contradiction of the will.…read more

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Religious Studies
Sexual Ethics
Utilitarianism was devised in the 18th Century by Jeremy Bentham
and was later developed by John Stuart Mill and Peter Singer.
Bentham originally created utilitarianism in order to support the
notion of democracy. Bentham recognised that humans were
motivated by the attainment of pleasure and we actively sought to
avoid pain.…read more

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Mill continued to states that a moral action creates the greatest
amount of good for the greatest number of people.
However, Mill's definition of good/pleasure entailed a distinction
between lower and higher pleasures.
Lower pleasures: are those that satisfy our immediate base urges -
e.g. sex, sleeping, eating and drinking
Higher pleasures: are those activities that stimulate the intellect
- e.g. reading, going to the theatre, opera, art galleries as well
as the cultivation of skills.…read more

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Sexual Ethical Issues and the Different Utilitarian approaches to
Sex before marriage: Utilitarians would have no issue with it.
Benthamites would aim to maximise pleasure where it is possible.
Utilitarians may advocate or demand the use of condoms in order to
minimise pain in the form of STDs or STIs in the case of sex
before marriage. Mill and Preference utilitarians would allow sex
before marriage.…read more

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Rule utilitarians would only have sex within the rules of society,
so they would adhere to age of consent laws.
Preference utilitarians would be concerned with the parties
Masturbation: Act Utilitarians don't care
Rule utilitarians would only be concerned about the fact that
masturbation does not lead to a higher pleasure. However, it causes
no harm to anyone else so its fine. Preference utilitarians don't
care, as long as the masturbator wants to do it.…read more

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Religious Studies
Sexual Ethics
Virtue Ethics
Virtue Ethics is an agent-centres relative ethical theory
devised by Aristotle (5th Century BCE) in his book Nicomachean
Ethics. When we say it is agent-centred we mean that it does
not prescribe rules on should follow in order to be moral (as do
other forms of Normative ethics like Kantian Ethics and
Natural Law Theory). Rather the purpose of virtue ethics is to
tell you how you should be instead of what to do, in order to be
moral.…read more

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E refers to behvaiours that fall under the vice of deficiency,
and RASHNESS refers to behaviours that fall under the vice of
excess. Another example of the golden mean is PROPER SELF-LOVE,
where the vice of deficiency is SERVILITY, and the vice of
excess is ARROGANCE.
Virtue Ethics stands apart from the approaches of most ethical
theories and looks at moral choices from the standpoint of the
individual and his or her personal qualities, virtues and ideals.…read more


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