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GCSE: Ethics

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  1. What is utilitarianism? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the theory?

    Some rules are necessary for us to follow in the quest to maximise happiness. However, this poses the problem of what should the rule utilitarianism do when the rule will produce a great amount of unhappiness, such as sometimes telling the truth isn't the right thing to do as it will cause great unhappiness to others. Finally, preference utilitarianism takes into account the preferences of the individual. It aims for the satisfaction of people's preferences rather than aiming to achieve the greatest balance of pleasure and pain. This is easier to manage than classical utilitarianism since it is easier to calculate.

    • Word count: 1702
  2. "Describe and evaluate Emotivism, showing knowledge of its key thinkers and critics?"

    It is considered non cognitive, which means that a factual truth claim is not expressed. It is a view that is hostile to Meta - physics and the majority of theology of which we are familiar with. Logical positivism resolves around the idea of a type of verification to verify how much meaning a statement has. The theory highlights the facts that Meta - physical statements are meaningful, and that scientific knowledge in essence, is the only kind of factual knowledge. These are the fundamental principles surrounding logical positivism, however there is another theory which is also familiarised with Emotivism; the "boo / hurrah theory".

    • Word count: 1123
  3. Explain how Aristotle and Alasdair Macintyre applied Virtue Theory to moral decision making?

    For example, the knife has a function, to cut, and it performs its function well when it cuts well. This argument is applied to man. Man has a function and the good man, is the man who performs his function well. This is the life of eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is the life of achieving virtues through activity in conjunction with reason, man's highest function. Therefore, when linked to moral decision making the person making the decision and wanting to become virtuous, will have an incentive of endless happiness, which should lead to the correct moral decision being chosen. The best way in which to achieve eudaimonia is by practice.

    • Word count: 2741
  4. With the growth of the Internet, concerns have arisen over the legal and ethical issues that surround e-commerce

    It is vital that the information provided about the company and its products and services are factual (Warholic, 2007). It's not unheard of for web masters to maintain sites for people in other countries, so international considerations come into play when we discuss the issue of intellectual property on the Web. If proper ethical procedures are not followed, the possibility exists that "trade secrets or intellectual property" could be revealed (Warholic, 2007). Part of the difficulty of using the Internet for international e-commerce is revealed in this comment: " when it comes to legal issues, laws are enacted by governments and developed through case precedents (common law)"

    • Word count: 1051
  5. "Miller's plays show is that happiness can only be achieved by making moral compromises" To what extent does this claim apply to All My Sons?

    making a moral compromise, because it would lead to the Keller family having money. This idea is also shown early on in the play by Jim - he says he would love to "help humanity on a Warner Brothers salary". This links to the idea that moral compromises have to made - in that it is more important to the characters of the play to earn money than do something more moral - in order to be happy. In the same way, a critic said that "Miller examines the morality of the man who places his narrow responsibility to his immediate family above his wider responsibility to the men who rely on the integrity of his work".

    • Word count: 1939
  6. Clarify and explain the key concepts of situational ethics

    Fletcher rejects legalistic ethics. The second theory is Antinomian ethics. Antinomian ethics is basically seen as the opposite of legalistic ethics. 'Antinomian' basically means 'against law'. This means that the ethical system is completely ignored. When making a decision, the occasion would be totally unique and it would be a matter of spontaneity. Fletcher believed it would literally be unprincipled and it would follow no course from one situation to another. Fletcher is equally critical of antinomianism as an acceptable approach to ethics, because it's unprincipled.

    • Word count: 1242
  7. Explain the theory of virtue ethics.

    Eudaimonia contained a fusion of all three. He believed that in order to reach eudaimonia one must integrate moral qualities, like being selfless into their own personality. He said that eudaimonia could be achieved by consciously practising the qualities needed everyday so that they slowly become a habit and therefore grow to be part of a persons character, just like how an athlete would practise their high jump on a regular basis. This can be done most successfully by imitating a virtuous person and not by learning a set of rules or principals.

    • Word count: 935
  8. Utilitarianism is a good ethical theory. Why and why not?

    Utilitarian theory could be applied to any situation, taking into account the difficulties, positives and negatives of the decision you need to make, and some may argue that rigidly following moral absolutes may do more harm than good. However, how does a person measure the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people? There is no "currency" in happiness, there are different types of happiness; there is contentment, intense happiness and mild happiness. To the individual, happiness will be of a different measure entirely.

    • Word count: 759
  9. In the essay "On The Rainy River," the author Tim O'Brien tells about his experiences and how his relationship with a single person had effected his life so dramatically.

    It gives you a sense than our own personal identities are built on the relationships we have with others. There are many influence out there such as our family and friends. Sometimes even groups of people such as others of our nationality and religion have a space in building our personal identities. In the essay O'Brien is faced with a conflict, a moral dilemma. He had to decide whether he was either going to go to the war and fight or was he going to run away and avoid the draft.

    • Word count: 1081
  10. Critically Compare The Use Of VIDe Decision Making Software With Traditional Ethical Approaches In Case Study Context Ethics is concerned with the fundamental principles, norms or values which lie behind particular moral

    This approach generates an obligation to do the best to maximise happiness or pleasure and minimise suffering or pain (Campbell & Higgs, 1982). To obtain the greatest good for the greatest number one has to judge each situation on its own merits. For example, in Case 102, a utilitarian approach would provide a useful vehicle (i.e. compulsory vaccine) to deal with the major meningococcal B epidemic, and minimise the outbreak of the meningitis disease for the greatest number (i.e. general public). The problem with this is that the interests of public health may conflict with the individual's choice (Seedhouse, 1998).

    • Word count: 1426
  11. Identify the different sources of Christian approaches to ethics and the broad ethical theories to which they relate.

    They hold actions to be intrinsically wrong, this Catholic approach is often linked to Natural Moral Law theory. Like Catholic laws Aquinas's Natural Law theory is absolutist and deontological. It underpins catholic beliefs in that it is based on a moral code existing within the purpose of nature, created by God '...nothing else than an ordination of reason for the common good promulgated by the one who is in charge of the community', like Roman Catholicism it values actions intrinsically, it evaluates both what I do and why I do it.

    • Word count: 835
  12. With reference to abortion, examine and comment on the view that the sanctity of life should be regarded as a moral absolute

    And I use that term loosely, it is my own personnel opinion that a child is a child from the moment of conception, and it should be treated thusly, so I call the unborn "organism" a child. But the actual term for the unborn child is a matter of hot debate. Names ranging from embryo, to foetus, to organism to baby. It depends on your point of view. According to the bible, life is precious, and a gift from God.

    • Word count: 3558
  13. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that pivots around the belief that morality should be judged by consequence and the way in which an action can be deemed moral or immoral

    Utilitarianism is a version of moral philosophy, initiated by Jeremy Bentham and refined and popularised by John Stuart Mill, which, true to its etymology, is concerned above all with the usefulness of human activity. Utilitarianism has been one of the most influential of ethical theories, and the one most widely used in ordinary 'common-sense' decisions. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) argued that an action should be judged, not simply on the happiness it appeared to offer the person who performed it, but according to its ability to benefit everyone involved.

    • Word count: 1358
  14. How does E.R. make use of the Conventions of a hospital drama?

    The camerawork also suggests/hints a change of pace by tracking much more quickly and by moving instantly to the place of action. The reasons for E.R's popularity are numerous and are listed below: 1) In general it's a fast-paced drama with lots of action and intensity. 2) It's been running for approximately 9yrs and watching it becomes a habit. 3) Its extensive use of well-developed emotional and moral dilemmas. 4) Heart-touching and breaking life and death situations. 5) The audience becomes emotionally involved with the characters and soon starts to care about them.

    • Word count: 660
  15. "Medical research in the U.K. is being suffocated by excessive governance and ethical review".

    Thus in 1997 the advent of MREC (multicentre research ethics committees) took place. This meant that multicentre applications instead of being scrutinised by many LRECs, will be considered by one MREC.2 However one aspect of research MRECs failed to consider are local issues. This resulted in a research protocol being submitted to LRECs for consideration on the impact of the research in their local communities.8 The chief medical officer introduced "pertinent local issues" as a bid to clarify and decrease time delays in determining community considerations.4,9 This brought some light to standardising approval methods, although other problems remained.

    • Word count: 4018
  16. Examine and comment on the relationship between Biblical teaching and ethical behaviour

    The Bible addresses some of the discipline that deals with questions such as how should a person act? What is right and wrong? The Bible sets its own agenda as it highlights the foundations of all ethics and Gods standard for human behaviour. Scripture is the final authority in ethical matters. The moral and ethical directions of the Bible are no less personal in their subject for they are addressed to individuals who must decide. In this essay l am going to be looking at the relationship between biblical teaching and ethical behaviour.

    • Word count: 1337
  17. How can we know, if at all, that our behaviour is ethical?"

    For others ethical behaviour is doing what the society in your country tells you to do, and the rest just follow their own opinion. This makes it very hard to decide whether our actions are correct or incorrect. In this essay we are going to look at these different groups and to decide which one of them is more ethical than the other. As I have mentioned previously, a lot of people identify ethics with religion. And yes, most religions do support high ethical standard, however this doesn't mean that doing everything the religion tells you to do is morally correct.

    • Word count: 697
  18. Moral disengagement in the Perpetration of InhumanitiesSummary

    Advantageous comparison is another way of making harmful conduct look good. In essence, how an act is perceived can be explained by what it is compared to. By using this tool, guilty actions can be made to look more innocent or less harsh that they really are. There is another type of advantageous comparison called exonerating comparison. This type of comparison seeks validity and moral justification based on utilitarianism. This is facilitated by two types of judgments. The first is to try an act through non-violent means which is the decision that is never chosen.

    • Word count: 1225
  19. Outline the principles of situation ethics

    The antinomian way is a way of making a moral decision without regarding law or principles. To follow this way you would have to make a decision on "gut instinct" and what feels right at the time, on no bases at all. The Antinomian way was where Existentialism surfaced, this was already a principle developed by a 19th Century Danish philosopher called Soren Kierkegaard. His theory was that the best way to make a moral decision was for individuals to find their own unique basis for morality. This argument was based on the foundations that no object or rational basis could be grounded in moral decisions.

    • Word count: 649
  20. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle on the acquisition of ethical understanding.

    Aristotle stood to be head of the Academy after Speusippus died but found himself to be an unpopular choice. In 335 BC he founded his own school, the Lyceum and began to make distinctions from Plato's work including the fact that philosophers should not be kings but advisers. Our interpretation of ethical understanding depends on the way that Aristotle and Plato choose to treat the issue and what their focus is.

    • Word count: 3910
  21. Discuss critically the claim that Freewill and Determinism are incompatible

    If you are not free to do otherwise, then you lack the ability to choose to fulfil your obligation, which means you are not obliged to do it. Determinism is the view that that every event has a set of causes, sufficient enough to explain why it, and not some other event, occurred. Is it often thought that if determinism of this sort is believed, then it implies that freewill does not exist. The argument is as follows: If every event is determined, including every act of choosing, then the choice made has already been determined so therefore cannot be free.

    • Word count: 1186
  22. How the writers of 3 different Victorian short stories create morals, heroism and religion with particular attention to language and allegory.

    In the story the boy Jack thinks that everything will be perfect if he gets rid of the Sorcerer and therefore the gyve, but in fact in the process he kills his uncle, his father and his mother. The moral puts across the point that if you get rid of something important to your family you get rid of them too. R L Stevenson has written these short stories in the style of Aesop's Fables, each with their own meaning and moral.

    • Word count: 967
  23. Religion Speech IVF

    Catholics believe it is immoral to produce human embryos destined to be exploited as disposable biological material. In the usual practice of IVF, not all embryos are transferred to the woman's body; some are destroyed. By acting in this way, the scientist is said to take the place of God. Even though he may be unaware of this, he sets himself up as the master of others destiny, by way of arbitrarily choosing whom he will allow to live and who will die, resulting in the death of defenseless humans.

    • Word count: 2720
  24. Natural Moral Law

    We have seen that the main purposes and these are called primary precepts. Acts that accord with the main human purpose are good. Acts not in accordance with human purpose are bad. Secondary precepts are rulings about things that we should or shouldn't do because they uphold, or fail to uphold the primary precept. This natural law exists to assist humans to direct their actions in such a way that they may reach their eternal destiny with God. Reason and human purpose The eternal law of divine reason is perceived through revelation.

    • Word count: 746
  25. "The greatest happiness for the greatest number" Using ToK thinking and terms, how far is the good basis for an ethical system?

    For example, we need our eyes to look at the monitor and ears to listen to background music in order to make us feel enjoyable when we are playing Play Station. Although seemingly unimportant in making decisions, our perception is the only way for us to tell if we are happy or not. Emotion leads us to do things that give us the greatest happiness. For example, if sleeping impresses me, I would like to sleep more. If playing Play Station makes me happier, it is good for me to play more.

    • Word count: 1553

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