Religious Studies - Ethics Key Terms - Part 2

  • Created by: justzoe
  • Created on: 11-06-18 14:44
absolutism
In ethics, the view that moral rules have a complete and universal authority that derives either from God, or from the internal authority / consistency of the rule.
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anthropomorphism (1/2)
Something is anthropomorphic if it ascribes human characteristics to something non-human, or if it judges another species by human criteria. Animals are judged by their ability to reason and be moral, by which criteria they fall short.
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anthropomorphism (2/2)
Anthropomorphic thinking therefore can be used (and has often been used) to justify cruelty to all non-human species on a massive scale. Opposed to it is the view that the environment is wholly interdependent and so anthropomorphism is destructive.
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autonomous
Literally self-law, e.g. Kant’s statement that moral law is autonomous means that it has its own authority.
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basic goods
In Finnis' version of natural law, he suggests seven basic goods: life, knowledge, play, aesthetics, sociability, practical reasonableness, and religion. They are self-evidently good and motivate action.
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bioethics
This refers to the ethics of the biological sciences and medicine, and covers a huge range of ideas and subjects. It deals with the relationships between the life sciences, medicine and biotechnology on one side, and politics, law, philosophy and rel
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categorical imperative
Categorical imperatives are laws whose forces are absolute and undeniable, e.g. ‘Do not murder’, ‘Honour your parents’, etc. Their force is discernible by contrasting them with the weak command in hypothetical imperatives.
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causation
The relation between two things when the first thing is necessary or sufficient, or both necessary and sufficient, for the occurrence of the second thing. David Hume argued that we cannot get our ideas about cause either from reason or observation.
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dominion
This refers to the view that the scriptures give humans power over animals and the environment, as opposed to theories of stewardship.
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common human nature
In Natural Law Ethics, refers to Aquinas’ view that since all humans have the same causal blueprint, we must have the same nature, so once reason tells us what moral rules we should follow, they must be followed ‘commonly’, i.e. by all.
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dualism
The belief, articulated for example by Descartes, that humans are made up from two ‘substances’ – material substance (body) and soul.
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intrinsic good
Intrinsic good is ‘built-in’ good, e.g. one does not have to ask why health is good. Intrinsic good for Kant is in the good will – duty for duty’s sake.
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interconnectedness
In environmental ethics, many theories stress the links between all members of an ecosystem. Interconnectivity as a biological feature suggests that systems must be seen as a whole, and that removal of parts of a system may irreparably damage the res
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meta ethics
Metaethics is the study of the meaning of ethical words like: good, bad, right, wrong. Until that is decided, it is difficult to do Normative Ethics.
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natural law
The name of Aquinas’ ethical system, derived partly from Aristotle, in which the good is defined by acts which are within our common human nature. Good actions are those which help us become fully human, whereas bad actions are those which hinder us
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normative ethics
Whereas meta-ethics considers the meaning of moral words like ‘good’ and ‘bad’, normative ethics is the debate about how we ought to behave, and which rules we should be following, and why.
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primary precepts
These are the ‘first’ level of rules which apply to all human beings by virtue of their common human nature, e.g. the primary precept of sexual behaviour is that sex should be for the possibility of procreation, so what of homosexuality?
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process theology (1/2)
Process theologians hold that God is not omnipotent, he seeks to persuade, but not to coerce. The universe is characterised by process and change – change carried out by agents who have free will. The universe as a whole has self-determination.
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process theology (2/2)
God seeks to influence for the good by offering ‘possibilities’. Process theology is panentheistic, in so far as God contains the universe, but is not identical with it. In a sense, the universe is God’s body.
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proportionalism
It suggests that moral rules may sometimes be broken if there is a proportionate reason. Where this happens, the act remains objectively wrong but is morally right: e.g. contraception is a wrong which can be right in order to prevent over-population
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sanctity of life principle
This derives from Genesis 1:26/27, according to which God made humans in his / her own image. Human life must then reflect God’s rationality and morality, and so has the ‘divine spark' which makes it sacred.
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secondary precepts
These are the rules which Aquinas derived from the primary precepts which are at the centre of his Natural Law theory. The set of secondary precepts most commonly referred to is that containing the rules for sexual conduct, which are controversial.
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situationism
In ethics, the view that what is morally right does not depend on inflexible absolute rules, but must fit the situation.
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stewardship
The religious doctrine that humans are responsible to God for animals and for the rest of the environment / created world, since the mode of the creation of humans singles them out as the species that rules the earth on God’s behalf.
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teleological ethics
The goodness of an action can be seen in achieving the best consequence. Teleological ethics also assume, as did Aristotle and Aquinas, for example, that human life as a whole is purposive, and is definable in terms of our status as rational and mo
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ultimate good
The highest good. For some, this is God, hence they follow Divine Command Theory. In Kant, the highest good refers to the summum bonum..
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summum bonum
Perfect duty ought to be rewarded by perfect happiness. Since it is impossible to achieve this during a lifetime, Kant thought it might concern the afterlife and God.
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agape
The love referred to in the New Testament; charity.
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eudaimonia
(As defined by Aristotle) what makes a person truly happy.
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scriptures
Sacred writings or books.
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virtue ethics
The value of certain character traits in establishing correct behaviour / ethical behaviour, leading to human well-being and flourishing.
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vices
Undesirable qualities e.g. weaknesses, gluttony, selfishness.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Something is anthropomorphic if it ascribes human characteristics to something non-human, or if it judges another species by human criteria. Animals are judged by their ability to reason and be moral, by which criteria they fall short.

Back

anthropomorphism (1/2)

Card 3

Front

Anthropomorphic thinking therefore can be used (and has often been used) to justify cruelty to all non-human species on a massive scale. Opposed to it is the view that the environment is wholly interdependent and so anthropomorphism is destructive.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Literally self-law, e.g. Kant’s statement that moral law is autonomous means that it has its own authority.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

In Finnis' version of natural law, he suggests seven basic goods: life, knowledge, play, aesthetics, sociability, practical reasonableness, and religion. They are self-evidently good and motivate action.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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