Edexcel AS Religious Studies (Foundations)- Tuesday 13th May 2014. Watch

QUANTAM
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This thread is for anyone doing the paper. What topics are you focusing on?
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JVD
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For the first paper (mentioned above) we've learnt about the following topics:

-Cosmological Argument
-Design Argument

-Problem of Evil

-Situation Ethics
-Utilitarian Ethics

And we're also answering the medical ethics question in the 50 mark paper.
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IrishChick
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John's Gospel Signs and women
Islam- pillars


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QUANTAM
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(Original post by 0mgJohn)
For the first paper (mentioned above) we've learnt about the following topics:

-Cosmological Argument
-Design Argument

-Problem of Evil

-Situation Ethics
-Utilitarian Ethics

And we're also answering the medical ethics question in the 50 mark paper.
I'm doing the same topics as you! What questions will of be focussing on for the foundations exam?
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QUANTAM
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(Original post by IrishChick)
John's Gospel Signs and women
Islam- pillars


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I see, are you ready?
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Kuna9613
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If all goes well i will do the questions on:

Cosmological Argument
Theodicies
Utilitarianism

I should also be able to handle sexual ethics and Situation Ethics if for some reason one of those questions isn't asked, but with those 3 questions i'm going to try to ace this exam :3 How is everyone else finding it? Is anyone stuck with anything or worried about revision?
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JVD
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(Original post by Kuna9613)
If all goes well i will do the questions on:

Cosmological Argument
Theodicies
Utilitarianism

I should also be able to handle sexual ethics and Situation Ethics if for some reason one of those questions isn't asked, but with those 3 questions i'm going to try to ace this exam :3 How is everyone else finding it? Is anyone stuck with anything or worried about revision?
I'm hoping to answer the same questions as you, minus the sexual ethics question

And this is actually the subject I'm struggling with the most, I started it off late and I missed quite a few lessons but never really got around to catching up
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IrishChick
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(Original post by QUANTAM)
I see, are you ready?
Sort of going over past paper questions and constantly writing out essays.. Have any of you got tip on how to improve speed in the exam? If so they would be great! Thanks good luck in your exams!!


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Kuna9613
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(Original post by IrishChick)
Sort of going over past paper questions and constantly writing out essays.. Have any of you got tip on how to improve speed in the exam? If so they would be great! Thanks good luck in your exams!!


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Just one i suppose; for many of the answers to questions you will outline the theory at the beginning of the answer, and that opening paragraph will just slightly alter to address the question while everything else will effectively be the same.

Eg. You'll pretty much always write in your introduction that the cosmological argument is A posteriori, inductive and synthetic and define those terms, as well as say what comsological arguments generally try to prove and how they show it. This will stay the same, and a good amount of memorization will allow you to cover much more material in your exam :3
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meeeeee7
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- Design argument
- Problem of evil
- War and peace

Have you planned your essays as two separate essays to address questions i) and ii) or have you combined the two parts of the questions into one answer? I'm a bit unsure which approach to take!


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Kuna9613
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I'd plan then separately, or probably more appropriately plan them like this:

1. General Outline
2. Different versions/arguments/theories
3. Strengths
4. Weaknesses

There's only 3 questions you can really get on the topic you choose, and they will incorporate part 1 and either 2,3 or 4, or 3 and 4 if they ask for strengths and weaknesses.
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YJ London
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1. Utilitarianism
2.Sexual ethics
3.War and peace
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Kuna9613
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(Original post by YJ London)
1. Utilitarianism
2.Sexual ethics
3.War and peace
Can you do all those 3? Arent they all ethics questions? Do you not have to do atleast 1 philosophy?
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YJ London
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(Original post by Kuna9613)
Can you do all those 3? Arent they all ethics questions? Do you not have to do atleast 1 philosophy?
I only take ethics. i am actually in yr 11 but i have taken the AS early
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Theaetetus
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Anyone else doing Hinduism? More specifically the Vedic question?
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Kuna9613
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For those that may be interested, here is a past paper question and answer that i just wrote on Utilitarianism, as many of you plan to do that question. My B answer is slightly longer than my A answer, so i would cut out a paragraph in my actual essay, but i left it here to be a good revision source; please point out possibilities for improvement:

Outline the important concepts of either Situation Ethics or Utilitarianism.(21)
Utilitarianism is a teleological (goal based), consequentialist ( the ‘end justifies the means’) and relativist theory that centres on the principle of utility: An action is “right if it produce as much or more of an increase in happiness of all affected by it than any other alternative action, and wrong if it does not” (Peter Singer). Being relative, the theory is not based on absolute or prescribed ethics, as in deontological ethics; this makes the theory autonomous as it provides freedom and flexibility in a situation. It is based on the idea that pleasure and happiness are intrinsically valuable and pain and suffering are intrinsically disvaluable. Jeremy Bentham conveys pain and pleasure as “The two sovereign masters, and in this system each counts for one, and none for more than one, thus promoting equality.
Jeremy Bentham through his ‘Principles of Morals and Legislation’, argued that pleasure could be calculated in a mathematical way which he calls the hedonic or felicific calculus. His theory is one of “Universal Ethical Hedonism” and seven elements are taken in to consideration – Intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, and extent. This was developed into ‘Act Utilitarianism’ – a person’s act is morally right if an only if it produces at least as much happiness as any other act that the person could perform at that time.
John Stuart Mill developed the principle further in ‘Utilitarianism’ by talking about qualitative rather than quantitative pleasure. He argued that not all pleasures were equal and that pleasures of the mind should take precedence over physical pleasures. He famously stated that “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied: better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied”. He put forward his harm principle, that citizens have within their right the privacy to do whatever they wish as long as it does no harm, which in this case shows that he values freedom and the liberty of the individual as the highest priority in his Utilitarianism. Instead of a hedonic calculus, Mill proposed that general rules should be used as guides in decision-making concerning moral actions. This developed into rule utilitarianism – the morally right action is the one that is in accordance with a moral rule whose general observance would create the most happiness. This further broke in to strong rule utilitarianism which maintains that certain rules have universal value and should always be kept, and weak rule utilitarianism which argues that there will sometimes be circumstances in which it would be better to allow exceptions.
There are other more modern variants of Utilitarianism. Karl Popper put forward Negative Utilitarianism, which argues that maximising pleasure is not as important as minimising pain; the priority is to reduce suffering in the world.
R.M Hare and Peter Singer have been proponents and developers of Preference Utilitarianism, which promotes actions that fulfil the interests (preference) of those being involved. Since what is good and right depends solely on individual preferences, there can be nothing intrinsically good or bad: for preference utilitarian’s, the source of both morality and ethics in general is subjective preference.

To what extent are these important concepts undermined by relevant criticisms? (9)
Utilitarianism has many strengths, but like all ethical theories it is subject to a plethora of weaknesses, some much more damaging than others.
The theory, being consequentialist and revolving around ‘goals’, depends on accurately predicting the long-term consequences of an action, and probable consequences do not always equal actual consequences. This is an important criticism; for one action there are usually many more than one consequence, and even if we could predict one accurately, we could not always predict the effects of our actions outside a certain propinquity, and thus Bentham’s felicific calculus is a very unreliable and usually unrewarding means of calculating pleasure.
The fact that not every action done out of good will is going to result in good consequences in my opinion is not as valid a criticism. If everyone does actions out of good will, what is intrinsically right irrelevant of the consequences, then larger pleasure will likely be brought around in the long term. Truth telling may result in more pain and grievance than a lie for example, although I think applying negative utilitarianism in this case may show that the longer that lie is kept in captivity, the more painful it will be when the truth is realised.
The theory cannot be used to decide what is universally and inherently good, and that it is too simplistic; every dilemma cannot be solved by reference to a single ethical problem, are relevant criticisms which I don’t regard as particularly effective. They are not problems with Utilitarianism, but more so ethical theories in general, but that should not mean that we should stop trying to promote the welfare and equality of people though Utilitarianism and other theories as that would be against trying to positively reinforce human well-being.
There should be consideration of both the majority and minority views, and Utilitarianism obviously stresses the majority through ‘The greatest good for the greatest number’. The rights of an individual or group can be ignored if it is not in the interests of the majority, even if their claim is fair and just, and I think this is a strong weakness of Utilitarianism that should be resolved in further updates, if not already in Rule Utilitarianism. A general rule should be that ‘The minority shows not be persecuted, frowned upon or treated badly for their beliefs if they genuinely want to bring about the creation of a more egalitarian society, and instead their beliefs should be considered and allowed to be spread’.
It is true that the theory makes no allowance for personal relationships or prima facie duties, nor does it recognise that religious believers amongst others may be willing to endure pain, humiliation or self-sacrifice for a cause they believe to be true and consider happiness not to be evidence of moral value. However, these criticisms while fair simply show the subjectivity of human nature, that not all humans can fit into one more ethical code or theory, and I think preference Utilitarianism can fit into this nicely.
Overall, Utilitarianism is growing still today and only getting stronger and more credible; no relevant criticism has yet been able to prove it redundant.
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Kuna9613
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Here is another answer of mine, just written, on the Problem Of Evil, and Theodicies. My (ii) 9 mark answer is the length i would try to write in the exam this time.

(i) Examine the key features of two solutions to the problem of suffering and their main purposes. (21)
The result of evil is suffering; to Augustine evil is ‘privatio boni’ – a privation of goodness. According to atheist David Hume, this problem is “the rock of atheism”. Solutions to the problem of evil are called Theodicies (Theo-God, Dike-Righteous), and are ‘Justifications for God’s righteousness’ despite suffering being prevalent in the world.
The Augustinian Theodicy, from Saint Augustine (354-430) in ‘Confessions’ and ‘De Genesi ad Litteram’, maintains that the world was created perfectly. Indeed, creation is the “perfect emanation of God’s creative plenitude”; all things within this creation and also perfect and without ‘evil’ and can be deemed good. Genesis 1:31 – “God saw all that he had made, and indeed, it was very good”. Evil came from the decisions made by beings to whom God had given free will, who chose to turn away from God, show in the Story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 – “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:3-5). As a result, natural evil is the loss of order in nature after expulsion from perfect Eden, and moral evil comes from man’s knowledge of good and evil being acted upon. Both of these forms of evil are in many ways a punishment for man, since all are ‘seminally present in the loins of Adam’ as through ‘original sin’ and this is the ‘Adamic Legacy’. Augustine suggested that this justified the fact that God appears not to put an end to suffering or intervene in the world to prevent it. Humanity’s fate is decided by the offer of salvation in the glory of heaven, which will overwhelm any suffering, owing to the sacrifice of Christ and his atonement for mankind as of Adam’s sin.
Process Theodicy is a radical, modern theodicy which gives an alternative view of God, evil and the universe. Proponent A.N. Whitehead said that in this theodicy, “God is the fellow sufferer who understands”. God is not the omnipotent creator of the universe. He is simply a part of the creation and is in constant creative struggle with the universe (i.e. process). He is limited by basic laws and forces of the universe and has to act in persuasion to attract man to him. Man is a result of the evolutionary process emerging from the battle with chaos. God is essentially unable to stop evil as he lacks the power to change natural processes. Evil is merely an inevitable aspect of the processes which take place and must be fought. “God is responsible for evil in the sense of having urged the creation forward to those states in which discordant feelings could be felt with greater intensity” spoke proponent D.R. Griffin. It relies on the assumption that the Universe has produced enough good to outweigh evil, and that having this universe is surely better than none at all. It is a risk worth taking.

(ii) Comment on the view that these two solutions do not succeed in removing obstacles to religious belief. (9) (that the weaknesses outweigh the strengths)
I view the solutions to the problem of suffering as never being able to satisfy those that do not believe in God that have experienced great suffering and misfortune in their lives. I think that obstacle will always be there, it is the most natural and most sincere form of opposition to the belief in God and general religious belief.
Individually, the weaknesses of the Augustinian Theodicy come in many areas. Morally and theologically, the omnibenevolent God who permitted even the possibility of evil and existence of Hell is certainly questionable. Plantinga may reply that God cannot contradict man’s freedom as love cannot be programmed, but to an atheist this is not a convincing reason to go from believing in no God to believing a God that lets the world develop into its own hell. Logically and philosophically, it is a logical contradiction to suggest that a perfect world could go wrong, as Schleiermacher suggests. Either the world wasn’t perfect or God causes evil. Scientifically, the suggestion the world was made perfect and then ‘damaged’ is contrary to evolution, and ‘seminally present in Adam’ is far from a biologically accurate assertion. Augustine’s theodicy relies too much on theistic evidence and leaps of faith, and I do not think it can offer much to an atheist in their reasoning against religious belief.
I view the Process Theodicy as doing a better job, mixing both eastern and western values in to a new concept of God as the “Fellow sufferer”. While one is qualifying the nature of God and rejecting the idea of theodicies themselves, I think it does succeed in removing many obstacles quite successfully. God is merely involved in bringing about creation but cannot necessarily prevent all the pain and suffering ; God is accessible in that, and suffering humans can identify with him better and understand his ways and character. It may bring alleviation to someone that has suffered, to take a pantheistic perspective that God is suffering as the world is, and I think that is its highest credit in removing obstacles to religious belief.
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happy3
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I'm doing design argument, evil and suffering and utilitarianism. Is anyone else worried they might combine utilitarianism with situation ethics like they have in the past?
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memoona123456
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(Original post by happy3)
I'm doing design argument, evil and suffering and utilitarianism. Is anyone else worried they might combine utilitarianism with situation ethics like they have in the past?
I'm worried about this but I think it's all fairly common sense! After the exam tomorrow I think we should come on here and discuss grade boundaries
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rachlawt97
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I'm hoping to do the problem of evil & suffering, just war and either utilitarianism or religion & morality. I just hope the questions aren't really awkward like they have been in the past! Good luck everyone
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