Religious Studies - Ethics Key Terms - Part 1

  • Created by: justzoe
  • Created on: 11-06-18 10:33
Act Utilarianism
A version of Utilitarianism according to which the rightness or wrongness of individual acts are calculated by the amount of happiness resulting from these acts
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antinomianism
In the context of ethics, the rejection of all moral laws and the reaching of decisions on a spontaneous, ad hoc and unpredictable basis. Rejected by Fletcher as unprincipled and irrational.
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Christian love
The gospels record Christ’s commandments to ‘love’, e.g. to love God, your neighbour, your enemy and one another ‘as I have loved you’ (John 13 34). Generally, it is unconditional, active about other's wellbeing and a human limitation of God's love.
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conscience
Fletcher rejects the idea that conscience is a thing. For him, conscience is a VERB rather than a noun – it is something you DO when you make decisions, as he puts it, ‘creatively’.
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consequential thinking
Thinking, in this case, about the rightness or wrongness of an action, that takes only the consequences of an action into consideration. Contrasted with deontological thinking – see below.
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deontological thinking
In contrast to consequential thinking – this is only concerned with the moral law, or duty, that makes a particular action right or wrong regardless of the consequences.
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euthanasia
Inducing a painless death, by agreement and with compassion, to ease suffering. From the Greek meaning "Good Death".
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types of euthanasia (1/2)
 active – carrying out some action to help someone to die.  passive – not carrying out actions which would prolong life.  voluntary – helping a person who wishes to die to do so.  involuntary – the person wants to live but is killed anyway.
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type of euthanasia (2/2)
 non voluntary – helping a person to die when they are unable to request this for themselves.
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fatalism
The view that everything that happens is predetermined and that we have no control over it.
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four presumptions
Also known as the four working principles of Situationism, they are: pragmatism; relativism; positivism and personalism.
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free will
Having the ability to choose or determine one's own actions
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hedonic calculus
Created by Bentham, this is a Utilitarian system whereby the effects of an action can be measured as to the amount of pleasure it may bring.
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legalism
An approach to moral decision making that applies the moral law regardless of the consequences.
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omnipotence
All powerful. When attributed to God, there is debate about whether God’s power to do anything extends to the logically impossible, e.g. controlling the decisions of a being with free will.
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omniscience
Having all knowledge / knowing all that can be known. There is a debate about how much can be known, e.g. of the future.
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pragmatism
Any theory of ethics must be practical and work towards the end that is love.
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predestination
The belief that one’s actions and eventual fate are already determined before one is born.
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principle of double effect
A thesis usually associated with St Thomas Aquinas that explains when an action that has unintended harmful effects it can be morally justified, for example operating to end an ectopic pregnancy to save the life of the mother.
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potentiality
In the context of the abortion debate: the capacity, from the moment of conception, which the fertilised ovum has for development.
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'right to life'
Where a right to life exists, it is the duty of others to sustain and protect that life.
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rule utilarianism
A version of Utilitarianism associated with John Stuart Mill. Actions are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ depending on whether they conform to a happiness-making rule, not because of their individual effects.
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situation ethics
The moral theory proposed by Joseph Fletcher which requires the application of love to every unique situation.
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teleological thinking
A description applied to Utilitarianism. It stresses that an action is right or wrong depending on its purpose / intended outcome.
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teleology
The belief that the reasons events occur is because they have a particular purpose.
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utilarianism
A philosophical system concerned with consequences rather than motives and in which the happiness of the greatest number should be the result.
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viability
In the context of abortion – the point at which the developing foetus / child becomes capable of living outside the womb. A viable ovum / embryo is one that has the potential to develop into an adult organism.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

In the context of ethics, the rejection of all moral laws and the reaching of decisions on a spontaneous, ad hoc and unpredictable basis. Rejected by Fletcher as unprincipled and irrational.

Back

antinomianism

Card 3

Front

The gospels record Christ’s commandments to ‘love’, e.g. to love God, your neighbour, your enemy and one another ‘as I have loved you’ (John 13 34). Generally, it is unconditional, active about other's wellbeing and a human limitation of God's love.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Fletcher rejects the idea that conscience is a thing. For him, conscience is a VERB rather than a noun – it is something you DO when you make decisions, as he puts it, ‘creatively’.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Thinking, in this case, about the rightness or wrongness of an action, that takes only the consequences of an action into consideration. Contrasted with deontological thinking – see below.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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