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AS and A Level: Practical Questions

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  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
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  1. Peer reviewed

    Give an account of Fletcher's Theory of Situation Ethics.

    4 star(s)

    The first one is legalism. This is where someone obeys the law, always sticks to what the rules say. The second is antinomianism, when people ignore or go against the law or rules. This theory lies in-between the two, this is known as Situationism. Each situation should be dealt with individually, you should remember the rules but be prepared to put them aside, it allows people to think for themselves. He believed that if one was to always to stick to the rules, it produces the 'immorality of morality'. This means that in some situations, if you go by what the law says, the outcome will be immoral.

    • Word count: 545
  2. Every adult has the right to become a parent. Discuss

    as an attack on marriage and the sanctity of this union. They would see this as going against one of the primary precept that states we should live in an ordered society. If people are going around with two fathers or mothers, the structure of society is threatened. This is an issue which UK law has struggled with and traditionally a child had no right to find out the identity of a sperm-doner, although this has now changed. This may lead us to believe, that Natural Law would support the right to become a parent, but would reject the destruction of a 'potential' child.

    • Word count: 718
  3. What are the ethical issues involved as a result of using biotechnology in cases of infertility ?

    Only 4/5 embryos are used for implantation. The others are put aside, frozen in nitrogen baths, for later use. This means that if the woman gets pregnant the first time she can still use these embryos to get pregnant with a second baby. These frozen embryos are, in most cases, forgotten by their parents and this leads to the destruction of many embryos since clinics were ending up with large numbers of neglected, frozen embryos. This brings us to the discussion of the moral status of a human embryo which might help us answer questions like ; is it right to freeze embryos ?,can they be used for research ?,can they be destroyed?

    • Word count: 862
  4. Does everyone have a right to a child?

    Catholics believe IVF is wrong because embryos may be destroyed in the process Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This procedure would often be used by males with low sperm counts, poor mobility or abnormally shaped sperm. Sperm is usually retrieved from the testicles which is usually involves inserting a small needle to draw out fluid containing sperm. For: it has a 25% success rate Against; the insertion of a needle into a male t******e may be very painful The Roman Catholic Church, under the papacy of Benedict XVI, has condemned the practice of Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in the magisterial instruction Dignitas Personae because it causes a complete separation between the marital act and childbearing.

    • Word count: 1421
  5. Moral Absolutism can Never be Justified. Discuss

    Each human carries an intrinsic ethical manual of absolute rights and wrongs to apply to dilemmas, so that we may act confidently and decisively. The use of relativism in such circumstances would leave us in a moral limbo, wasting valuable time assessing the situation. Moral Absolutism protects us from slipping into the moral anarchy inflicted by relativism. Relativism is spineless, as it cannot protect the human rights of everyone, just those living within "civilised" cultures. For example, when Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, moral absolutism came to her rescue in the form of human rights organisations, celebrities and the British government campaigning for her humane treatment.

    • Word count: 890
  6. Free essay

    People with disabilities are less valuable than able-bodied people. To what extent must religion reject this view?

    We are judged upon our oneness relationship with God, and how we accept Gods' righteousness and grace. Therefore, just because society defines disabled people as abnormal, such as lepers who are looked down upon in the New Testament, they do not distort the image of God because of their physical image, and as long as they experience Gods' grace and engage in a relationship with God, they are equal in Gods eyes. As we all are the children of the Lord, we should all be respected and looked at in the same way, and not as lesser, as we are all unique due to the fact that we are created by God.

    • Word count: 848
  7. Examine how Benthams utilitarianism may be applied to one ethical issue of your choice. Organ transplants.

    To decide the value of happiness created within such an act, Bentham created the Hedonic calculus, with 7 criteria which help calculate pain and pleasure generated by an act. These are - * Duration - how long the pain/pleasure lasts. If there were 2 options, one which causes a long lasting pleasure, and the other which causes a short lasting pleasure, the long lasting pleasure would out win the other. * Fecundity - probability that the pleasure/pain will reproduce. If the pleasure will keep on occurring in the future, rather than just happening once, it is seen as a higher pleasure.

    • Word count: 1206
  8. What is Christian ethics?

    Christians believe the scriptures transmit the Word of God: this gives them authority. The weight of authority given to the Bible is dependent on what exactly a Christian believes about the books. Some Christians believe that humans were inspired by God to write down the scriptures which means the writings are related to the time and culture when they were recorded and may contain human errors. This makes them a useful source of guidance to people but does not make their contents absolute.

    • Word count: 1033
  9. Consider the arguments for and against paid organ donation.

    If anybody was willing to donate a kidney, most probably as a result of personal experience (for example, a relative or friend needing a transplant), they probably would have done so anyway without the money bonus, so there would seem not much point in paying the donors. Furthermore, in response to the idea that paid organ donation would encourage more people to come forward to donate, people generally donate organs altruistically to do good to society. If this motivation is taken away from them by paying donors, they will probably not want to donate because they would no longer see it as a selfless act.

    • Word count: 3087
  10. A Kantian would never allow abortion. Discuss.

    becomes a categorical imperative because it can be universalised and therefore we should always help others. It could be seen that by assisting a woman in having an abortion, the doctor is helping her and therefore acting in a Kantian way. In addition, if the foetus would have an unhappy or difficult life if born, then by having an abortion, the woman may feel she is helping the foetus by saving it from that life. I agree that sometimes such as the cases aforementioned, abortion would be allowed by a Kantian.

    • Word count: 601
  11. To what extent would a follower of Natural Law allow euthanasia?

    Although the Primary Precept of 'the preservation of human life' would lead to the Secondary Precept of 'no euthanasia', these Secondary Precepts are dependent on our own judgements of what actually to do in a given situation and are open to our own reasoning. According to the Secondary Precepts, euthanasia may not always be wrong and may, in special and rare occasions, be acceptable. In relation to the Doctrine of Double Effect, a literal follower of Natural Law would not allow euthanasia.

    • Word count: 1103
  12. Contraception. In this essay I will be analysing and examining whether the use of condoms is acceptable through the different philosophies I have studied.

    The theory of Utilitarianism was originated from John Mill and Jeremy Bentham in the 17th to the 18th century. Jeremy Bentham was born in 1748 and died in 1832 while John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 and died in 1873 (Ethical Studies Robert Bowie second edition page36)1. Utilitarianism is a philosophical theory of morality and "how one should act". It states that one should act so as to maximize the amount of happiness in the world. Utilitarianism is also defined as the greatest good for the greatest number with pain over pleasure, and is the opposite of deontological ethics, which state that actions can only be universal if they are done with duty or good intention.

    • Word count: 1246
  13. What Is Ethics?

    One can see, there are many viewpoints held about the origin, and for that matter there ought to be no right or wrong answer, because if there was, there would be only a set list of rules and regulations to which everyone abided to. Being ethical is not the same as following the law. Law often incorporates ethical standards to which most citizens adhere to. But laws, like feelings, can deviate from what is ethical. Our own pre-Civil War slavery laws and treatment of black people in our community are obvious examples of laws that deviate from what is ethical.

    • Word count: 801
  14. What is Natural Moral Law? What are the strengths and weaknesses of NML?

    This quote shows Cicero's beliefs that there is one universal law which applies to everyone. The stoics taught that the world was ordered according to this law. Cicero believed that Humans have reason and therefore can understand nature. He also believed that the greatest evil is emotion. Emotion goes against Natural law; such example would be the love between one man and one woman (natural). However, if one of either party was to have an affair, they will be acting on their emotions to go against nature. Overall, the stoics believed that we should fit in the world or fight against it in some futile way.

    • Word count: 1529
  15. Consider the view that humans have no free will.

    Vice versa if we were forced at gunpoint to assist a stranger we would not deserve honour or praise because it was an action that was not freely undertaken. If in ignorance one performs an action which has an unpredictable immoral consequence, then we're again not blameworthy because there was no way of knowing it could have caused harm or had ill-effect on another. Unfortunately these situations can get evermore complicated, if someone isn't entirely in control of their actions (e.g.

    • Word count: 1387
  16. Should capital punishment be reinstated?

    It is self-evident that dead criminals cannot commit any further crimes, either within prison or after escaping or after being released from it. As well as this, it is a lot cheaper that having to keep criminals in prison who need food, sanitation and clothing. Money is not an inexhaustible product and the government would be able to spend it on more important thing like improving the economy, schools and heath care rather than on the long term imprisonment of murderers and rapists.

    • Word count: 1434
  17. God Knows the ethical decisions we will make. Discuss

    There are three main approaches we should consider when answering this question; Hard Determinism, Libertarianism and Soft Determinism/ Compatibles. Hard Determinism is the theory of Universal Causation maintains that everything in the universe (including human action) has a cause which precedes it. This is the basis of science, if it wasn't the case that one event or set of circumstances lead to another, scientific observation, and the conclusions drawn, would be pointless and meaningless. John Locke gave the example of a man who wakes up in a room that, unknown to him, is locked from the outside.

    • Word count: 886
  18. Virtue ethics is of little use when dealing with practical ethics Discuss.

    However this good human life is one lived in harmony and co-operation with other people, since Aristotle saw people as not only rational beings but also as social beings. Aristotle saw two types of virtues, intellectual virtues and moral virtues. Aristotle compares the virtues to skills acquired through practice and habit, e.g. we acquire a skill by practising the activities involved in the skill. To become virtuous is rather like playing a musical instrument- it needs practice. Aristotle believed that all people have the potential to develop moral and intellectual virtues, only a few actually achieve this- these were gentlemen philosophers and today we could say that this depends in part on social factors.

    • Word count: 1800
  19. Free essay

    Explain the categorical Imperative as a tool for moral decision making

    Kant was a deontologist who proposed an absolute stone cold objective unbreakable moral law which he called the Categorical Imperative. The Categorical Imperative is based upon Kant's idea that morality is derived from rationality and all moral judgments are logically supported. The Categorical Imperative is an absolute non negotiable universal moral law that holds up regardless of context or circumstance, therefore it applies to every single person on this Earth, not depending on religion or society. Kant was absolutely unwavering about this point; what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, consequently making it everyone's duty to abide in the same equal way.

    • Word count: 759
  20. Some ethical theories are of more help than others when making decisions about s****l issues

    So with that he completely argues against the use of contraception and also homosexuality. Aquinas said s*x is used for procreation so using contraception to stop it is wrong as it goes against the natural order of things. Similarly with same s*x marriages, being gay is not wrong but acting on it is as there is no potential to reproduce. Natural laws belief of s****l issues could be argued to be an effective theory to make s****l decisions. It gives you clear rules on what is right or wrong and there is no room for interpretation.

    • Word count: 490
  21. Arguing against the death penalty. Truly there is no purpose to the Death Penalty other than vengeance, yet it seems that our society has sunk to such a level that even vengeance is acceptable to most.

    The end result is the same and the feeling with which it is carried out is the same. There are, even, many qualities of the death penalty that surpass the moral obscenity of a criminal act of murder. Where then is the difference between a murder and an execution? How can one form of murder be right and another be wrong? How can the same deed, carried out by two different people, be one time evil and another time divine? How, furthermore, can a morally adverse action promote the morality, let alone the continued existence, of human society?

    • Word count: 1909
  22. Explain Aquinass cosmological argument

    Aquinas however, wanted to prove the Christian God and creator. He, like Aristotle believed that the fact that there is a universe rather than nothing proves the need for an external force to lead to the existence of things. Aquinas observed that an object moves or changes when an external force is applied, for example, wood becomes hot when it comes into contact with fire (A posteriori knoledge) .This cannot go back to infinity therefore the universe is infinite and there must have been a first mover which is not moved itself.

    • Word count: 1884
  23. Explain religious and ethical arguments in favour of Euthanasia

    Are we asking too much of a doctor to decide what's best for all concerned? Many people argue that matters of life and death are best left to God as a human cannot be a truly impartial judge. Some Christians argue in favour of Euthanasia as they believe it demonstrates the compassion and Christian Agape that Jesus told us to practice when he commands us to "love your neighbour as yourself" (Mathew Ch 5). If you were experiencing intolerable pain and suffering then you would want someone to help you end that suffering with dignity through Euthanasia.

    • Word count: 1116
  24. a***s the claim that it is the definition of human life that lies at the heart of the abortion debate.

    It becomes clear which cells are human cells when the primitive streak appears; however, people have argued that all body cells are human cells, but cutting off a limb is not considered murder. In my opinion, this is a weak argument, as the fact that the human cells have the potential to grow into a human being is not taken into account, so an early stage embryo is in no way comparable to a limb, as a limb has no potential.

    • Word count: 525
  25. The 21st century has raised more problems for equality than it has solved. Examine and comment on this claim with reference to homosexuality.

    On the other hand, lesbians were never acknowledged or targeted by legislation. In the early 1950s the police enforced laws prohibiting s****l behaviour between men, leading to a number of high profile arrests, such as Alan Turing - who was a scientist, mathematician and war time code breaker. He was convicted in 1952 for 'gross indecency', however in 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology. On 3rd September 1957 the Wolfenden Report was published, recommending that 'h********l behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence'. It also stated that 'homosexuality cannot legitimately be regarded as a disease, because in many cases it is the only symptom and is compatible with full mental health in other respects'.

    • Word count: 2828

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the view that only a religious ethic can provide an acceptable basis for medical ethics.

    "In conclusion I think that a religious ethic is by no means the only acceptable basis for medical ethics. Although some Christian ethics will provide a stable answer for every situation, an answer that will never change and therefore will have clear-cut boundaries, not every person in the world will ever be of the same religion, and therefore it cannot be universal. Therefore a non-religious ethic which everyone could agree on seems more acceptable, such as one that allows situations to be considered, because therefore a religious ethic could be used in certain circumstances if the people involved would like to do so, as that happens to be their own "situation"; similarly if someone does not want to apply a religious ethical theory then they are not obliged to do so, because again this option would apply to their situation. Therefore situationist ethics that are not based on religion can be made universal, allowing religious ethics to be applied or not according to the wishes of the people involved and this seems to me to be the only acceptable basis for medical ethics, an ethic that will allow for everyone's personal beliefs."

  • Discuss critically the belief that conscience is the voice of God.

    "To conclude, I do not firmly believe that conscience is the voice of God. Mainly because of the difficulties which arise with conflicting consciences. There are a number of religions with competing claims about truth, making people sincerely believe different things on a wide variety of ethical and religious issues. Also, atheists say that conscience is very important to them and if they do not believe in God then how can conscience be the voice of God? Surely if conscience was the voice of God then atheists would find it hard to have conscience in their lives."

  • Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of natural moral law as a definitive ethical theory

    "In trying to decide then, if natural moral law can be held as a definitive ethical theory one has to realise that although the theory isn't as rigid as it first appears it is still faced with problems, which may well, be insurmountable. The conclusions of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the prohibition of activities such as artificial contraception and homosexual acts, as already shown, can be subject to convincing challenge. It is also important to note that in the absence of clear guidelines it is impossible to know definitively what is and what is not natural and so therefore rendering the issue wholly subjective. Once an issue becomes subjective, and it is difficult to produce an instance when subjectivity would be absent, natural moral law has to fail as a definitive ethical theory."

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