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(sorry - TSR cut me off before I'd finished)
When it comes to applied ethics, you need to consider the main issues surrounding each topic (e.g. abortion/euthanasia/genetic engineering/etc) and talk about those. All you have to do is explain the issues and how a theory would approach it (obviously, depending on the question). This is not the place to evaluate the use or effectiveness of the theory, nor which issue is the most poignant (that’s reserved for a b) type essay) but just to lay out the main issues as clearly as you can.
I'm not sure how else to help you. The best way to get AO1 marks in OCR's RS is to know your stuff and know it well. In an a) type question, they are looking for a sound depth of knowledge. Easy marks, if you know the content well.
Hope this helps,
I can try, although it is somewhat contingent upon the question. Quotations are good to have, especially for Biblical references – the chief examiner bemoans a lack of knowledge of these with some regularity.
If you’re going to use quotations, either Biblical ones or ones from philosophers, make sure you don’t use too many of them. One or two for each topic, sprinkled in would be good, but if you use too many, you’re not showing the examiner you understand the topic; all you’re showing them is that you’ve inhaled some knowledge and can recite other people’s work with no demonstration of your own understanding.
I've given you an example below using Natural Moral Law, which I abbreviate to NML here for ease.
a) Explain Natural Moral Law
- NML is a teleological approach to ethics: telos = end/goal/purpose. The telos of NML is human perfection as God intended.
- Derived from Aristotle but developed by Aquinas. Now used by the RC Church as a basis for morality.
- Eternal Law, Divine Law and Natural Law
- We all have a natural inclination to do good and avoid evil
- Real and Apparent goods (we either follow a real good, or we follow an apparent good - something we believe to be good, but turns out not to - due to a flaw in reasoning/phronesis)
- Interior (intention) and Exterior (action itself) Acts must both be good for an action to be a real good.
- If this isn't possible, then the interior act must be good (link to the doctrine of double effect)
- - There are absolute moral maxims which should be followed at all times. These are called the "five primary precepts" and they are (list them)
- Secondary precepts - these are maxims which are derived from the primary precepts and applied to the situation by phronesis (practical wisdom) and reason. It is flaws in this which lead to an apparent good being followed.
Quite some time ago you answered a question on one of my threads. I doubt you'll remember me, but I just wanted some advice on essay technique.
Could you give me some pointers on the AO1 questions for the AS ethics paper?
Self teaching the content is fine, but my teachers (who teach the AQA syllabus) don't know what OCR are looking for in their essays, especially for the top marks.
I read somewhere that quotes were crucial. Is that true?
If you could give a generic structure of what an ethic's question, applied and not applied should look like, that would be immensely helpful.
First of all, I'd just like to say thank you very much for your response on my thread regarding my EPQ (repeat organ transplant ethics), I found what you wrote extremely useful to help me collect my thoughts with structuring my report.
As I study subjects that are more "true or false" (Biology, Chemistry and Maths) it has been some time since I last wrote an evaluative essay and since I last learnt about ethical points of view in Religious Studies at school. You explained to me the argument "against the natural order" and also those who take the Utilitarian position however, I wondered if you could advise me of any other points of view/arguments that I could explore in detail which are relevant to my project. I'm asking this because I think you made a great point to not approach my EPQ with a yes/no attitude especially with it being such a controversial issue.
I really appreciate your help!
Hi, I was just wondering on average how long each 35 mark response should be in each of the A2 exams?
Could you look at some of my essays for OCR Philosophy of Religion, and could you give me any tips on how to get an A in the exam, please? I'd be very thankful.
The best piece of advice to give you is don't forget to LEARN the strengths and weaknesses of each ethical theory and how the theories link to the applications (i.e. abortion, euthanasia, war and peace....) Hope this helps a little - the [Part 1], [Part 2], [Part 3] and [Part 4] is because my answer was too long for posting apparently!!!
Merry Christmas xx
You could begin by talking about the strengths of NML with regard to Euthanasia. You then highlight a couple of weakness. One weakness might be 'it doesn't take into account the situation' & thus you might conclude that in actual fact, Util might be better because(strength of Util). However, Util takes into account the majority's views & thus the family might all want Granny to have euthanasia, but Granny might not want to. Granny's wishes are dismissed as they are those of the minority. Bearing that in mind, it might be better to subscribe to a Kantian approach to ethics as the 2nd formulation of the Categorical Imperative states that you should treat each person as an end in themselves. Kant also asserts that each individual person is a rationally autonomous moral decision maker and thus it is up to Granny whether she wants euthanasia or not. In conclusion, Natural Moral Law is/is not the best approach to abortion and perhaps XXX might be a better approach because.....
With the b) types, your best bet is to think about which theories work best with which application and why BEFORE you go into the exam. E.g. My students tend to prefer Utilitarianism for War and Peace and Kant for Euthanasia. That's their choice and it doesn't matter really. The point is - they can justify their position because they've thought about it before.
So, if you get a question like..."b) 'Aquinas' Natural Moral Law is the best approach to Euthanasia' Discuss"
To succeed at the a) types (25 markers) you need to know your stuff. It's that simple. Put the Ethical Theories (i.e. NML, Utilitarianism, Kant....) in order in which you feel most confident. That gives you some idea of which topics you're best to answer in the exam. You have to answer two questions and if you hate Utilitarianism (for example) then it might be the one best avoided if it comes up. BUT learn it because all it takes is a pig of a question and it might be easier to answer a more straightforward one on a topic you're less confident about.
e.g. "a) Explain Bentham's Utilitarianism" is a much more straightforward a) type than "a) Explain the strengths of Aquinas' Natural Moral Law" (for example) so if you hate Utilitarianism (using earlier example for consistency) it might be easier to explain Bentham's Utilitarianism than explaining the strengths of Aquinas' NML.
- About me
- Teacher of Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics. Also teach PSHE and trained at the Faculty of Education in Cambridge
- Academic Info
- BA (Hons); PGCE; MEd (Cantab)
- Last Activity 11-02-2013
- Join Date 22-08-2009
Join Date 22-08-2009
Total Posts 119