AS OCR Ethics



  • Most commonly associated with deontology (pays no regard to consequences, is focused on duty and the fact that acts are inherently right or wrong)
  • Some actions are always right or wrong independent of the time, place, or situation
  • Moral rules are objective and are capable of being universalized ( can be applied to everybody, everywhere, in every situation)


  • It provides a universal system by which all actions can be measured
  • It is a clear system that is easy and quick to apply ( there is no weighing up of the action against the consequences)
  • There are certainly acts that are inherently right or wrong independent of any other factor, for example, ****, or child cruelty.


  • It is ignorant of cultural differences or varying circumstances
  • How can these moral truths be determined?
  • The consequence of an action often has a large impact on people's views towards an action - absolutism ignores the consequence and even goes as far as to say that an act done out of duty and done with a good intention is still good, even if it produces bad consequences.


  • Most commonly associated with teleology (an action's value is determined by the consequences it produces - an action is good if the consequences are good)
  • There are no set moral rules - morality is subjective and dependent on the views and values of the individuals or of society.
  • Cultural relativism - that which is right or wrong depends on the moral code of a particular culture; no objective standard can judge one culture's moraltiy against another. There are two theses within this branch of relativism: diversity thesis - cultures are all so diverse that one culture cannot be judged against another; dependency thesis - what is right or wrong depends on the nature of society
  • Subjective relativism - relativism occurs on a much more personal level. What is right or wrong for one person may be at complete odds with what is right or wrong for another person.


  • It is flexible and focuses on the best outcomes
  • It allows for a more autonomous (self-directing) morality - people have to take responsibility for actions instead of just doing their duty


  • Judgements are always subjective and so there is no moral standard by which any action can be judged
  • There are some things that many would argue are always wrong - **** and child abuse will never be right, no matter what the circumstances
  • Relativism gives little reason to behave morally other than doing what is socially acceptable

Natural Law

  • Deontological Christian theory, moral absolutes have been written into nature by God. Focused on the purpose of life and how to reach happiness and fulfilment.
  • Rooted in Aristotelian philosophy. Aristotle was concerned with the Efficient and Final Causes of everything - how does it happen and what is its purpose? An object reaches supreme goodness when it fulfils its purpose. the supreme good for humans is eudaimonia (general well-being and contentment)
  • We can reach this supreme…




Thank you :)