Mentor05
Badges: 10
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#1
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#1
Hey,

I completed this essay and was just wondering if anyone could please give me some feedback or tips? My teacher always says she will but never gets around to it as she is always very busy with head of year duties. I am aiming for an A/A* which is 34+ marks I think. Do you think this would be in that mark? I completed it in 45 minutes and I am able to type in lessons. I have Mocks next week, so any feedback or tips would be so helpful. Thank you so much!
Last edited by Mentor05; 1 month ago
0
reply
Joe312
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#2
Report 1 month ago
#2
I'm an examine for OCR so I can give you some advice.

The content is good and you write well. There isn't quite enough AO1 marks - you don't properly explain relativism nor the other working principles and there's no mention of legalism vs antinomianism. Your reference to the six fundamental propositions is quite brief.

However, the main thing holding this back from getting an A* is the structure. You basically have one paragraph where you represent the case in favour of the question, another paragraph where you represent the case against the question and then one more mini paragraph where you develop the point in the second paragraph further.

It's difficult to get really high AO2 evaluation marks with that structure because you are not really properly putting the issues against each other.

Sure, there are upsides to flexibility, and then in paragraph 2 you point out there are downsides... but why do the downsides outweigh the upsides? Couldn't the downside of the legalism of, say, natural law, be worth risking a bit of overflexibility and subjectivity in ethics? I'm not saying yes to that, I'm pointing out that you should debate that!

Also, couldn't fletcher be defended from the criticism you make in part 2? You point out that love is subjective.. but arguably agape is not. Hitler might have thought he was doing a loving thing, certainly, but was he really loving his neighbour as himself...?

Furthermore, Fletcher and J A T Robinson thought that situation ethics was appropriate for modern times because humanity has progressed and become more civilised; 'come of age' - so they would argue that people can be trusted with the freedom you worry about in the third paragraph.

I'll post a link to my website which has essay structure advice. It also has some revision notes, though they are quite outdated - I'm planning to upload the completed version after Christmas, but the current ones still give you a good idea of how to implement the structure:

https://alevelphilosophyandreligion.com/
0
reply
Mentor05
Badges: 10
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#3
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#3
(Original post by Joe312)
I'm an examine for OCR so I can give you some advice.

The content is good and you write well. There isn't quite enough AO1 marks - you don't properly explain relativism nor the other working principles and there's no mention of legalism vs antinomianism. Your reference to the six fundamental propositions is quite brief.

However, the main thing holding this back from getting an A* is the structure. You basically have one paragraph where you represent the case in favour of the question, another paragraph where you represent the case against the question and then one more mini paragraph where you develop the point in the second paragraph further.

It's difficult to get really high AO2 evaluation marks with that structure because you are not really properly putting the issues against each other.

Sure, there are upsides to flexibility, and then in paragraph 2 you point out there are downsides... but why do the downsides outweigh the upsides? Couldn't the downside of the legalism of, say, natural law, be worth risking a bit of overflexibility and subjectivity in ethics? I'm not saying yes to that, I'm pointing out that you should debate that!

Also, couldn't fletcher be defended from the criticism you make in part 2? You point out that love is subjective.. but arguably agape is not. Hitler might have thought he was doing a loving thing, certainly, but was he really loving his neighbour as himself...?

Furthermore, Fletcher and J A T Robinson thought that situation ethics was appropriate for modern times because humanity has progressed and become more civilised; 'come of age' - so they would argue that people can be trusted with the freedom you worry about in the third paragraph.

I'll post a link to my website which has essay structure advice. It also has some revision notes, though they are quite outdated - I'm planning to upload the completed version after Christmas, but the current ones still give you a good idea of how to implement the structure:

https://alevelphilosophyandreligion.com/
Thank you so much for your help! What mark would you say that this would get? I am going to work on all of your suggestions and adapt my answer. You're amazing 😀
0
reply
Joe312
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#4
Report 1 month ago
#4
(Original post by Mentor05)
Thank you so much for your help! What mark would you say that this would get? I am going to work on all of your suggestions and adapt my answer. You're amazing 😀
No problem! I would give it around a high B grade at the moment. It would get up to an A just by adding some more AO1.

Your challenge is going to be to improve it without blowing up the word count. In the real exam you will get 40 mins (assuming no extra time) and it's pretty difficult to write more than 1300 words in that time, I usually recommend to my students to aim for 1200.
0
reply
Mentor05
Badges: 10
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#5
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#5
(Original post by Joe312)
No problem! I would give it around a high B grade at the moment. It would get up to an A just by adding some more AO1.

Your challenge is going to be to improve it without blowing up the word count. In the real exam you will get 40 mins (assuming no extra time) and it's pretty difficult to write more than 1300 words in that time, I usually recommend to my students to aim for 1200.
Thanks so much! I will definitely do that. I have just done another practice question, is this better? I have tried to add more A01 and worked on structure. However, please don't feel you have to do this as I don't want to take up to much of your time, you have done more than enough

Is Thomas Aquinas' theory of Natural Law too indebted to Christianity to be a useful ethical theory to a modem audience?

The revival of interest in practical reason has brought in it’s wake renewed philosophical attention to the theories of Natural Law. When examining the feasibility of Natural Law in our contemporary society, it is important to focus on the oldest form of Natural law from Aquinas, and its challenges from a new secular approach. On the one hand, Natural law does manage to create a flexible and autonomous approach to ethics that addresses some of the issues faced by other normative theories such as Utilitarianism. However, on balance it seems that Natural Law cannot contain the same coherence as it once did. Natural Law presupposes belief in the divine which is not compatible with a less religious fundamentalist society as well as allowing for simple ethical questions to become complicated moral dilemmas. Consequently, natural law is not the most useful ethical theory today.

One of the perceived strengths of Natural Law is the idea that is shares common human nature across the world. This means that we can uphold a moral standard that everyone must follow, rather than finding ourselves stuck with moral relativism or subjectivism. This is a benefit as if morality was subjective then any individual, such as Hitler would be able to justify his actions due to his interpretation of morality being subjective. Similarly, if morality is relative to a particular social culture, then what we think of being morally correct could simply just be a social construct, and we shouldn’t enforce this social construct onto others who follow their own moral law. Because of a shared human moral code, Natural Law is one of the few ethical theories that could state plainly and clearly that murder is wrong, without considering the time, place or scene. This argument, though having its merits, is a victim to what is known as the “is-ought” fallacy. This fallacy was introduced by David Hume and he said, “If something is a particular way by ‘nature’, it does not logically follow to conform. Therefore, even if we have a natural inclination to act in a particular way, it doesn’t mean we should always adhere to that precept. Natural law also presents a questionable view of human nature by faithfully believing that Humans share a common nature. Even though human Beings vary greatly, Aquinas seems to presume that we are inherently all the same and fit under the bracket of one human nature. However, a human being may be born homosexual and thus may not share the proposed ‘common’ human code for reproduction. Following this, any secondary precept that denies homosexual sex might be going against their human nature. To be pragmatic however, people have different lifestyles and opinions. Homosexuality would be persecuted under Natural Law because it doesn't seek to reproduce (one of the five primary precepts), but most people would now agree that there is nothing morally wrong with homosexuality. Therefore, the secular and universal ‘strength’ of natural law is fundamentally flawed and exemplifies my belief that natural law cannot be useful for a modern society as moral beliefs and ideologies have changed over time, and because natural law is an absolutist theory, it does not take these changes into account.

On the other hand, it can be argued from a Christian perspective that natural law relies too heavily on reason. Karl Barth stated that human reason was corrupted and therefore cannot be fully trusted. We should instead rely more on the grace of God and revelation in the Bible. Furthermore, from a secular perspective, Aquinas’ view of human reason could be flawed because there is no certain proof of an ultimate purpose which we aim towards. This leads us on to the argument of existentialism, that we assign purpose to something rather than us naturally having a God given purpose. Aquinas was inspired by Aristotle to implement ‘telos’ into his theory of natural law. Aquinas believed that every human and creature has a ‘god given purpose,’ but is that necessarily, correct? Isn’t it more of a logical approach to say that it is humans that assign a purpose to something rather than a godlike figure? For example. Someone may use a cricket bat to hit a ball in a game of cricket, yet is completely different circumstances someone may use a cricket bat to enthusiastically kill spiders, which is indefinitely different from its original purpose. This essentially breaks down natural law, as natural law is based around the idea that God has assigned a purpose to us. There is also a misunderstanding of humans as fundamentally rational beings. For many people, reason is too often clouded by emotional response and what we think is reasonable could just be our egocentric perspective of what we desire out of a situation. The weaknesses of the arguments for Aquinas’s natural law and the logical approach in explaining the weaknesses of the arguments against Aquinas, lead me to believe that natural law is no longer useful in today’

A strength of natural law is that it allows for reason as well as scripture therefore not excluding people with no religion. It combines religious belief and secular reasoning. This theory allows people who aren’t religious to believe in Natural Law and still lead purposeful lives without having to convert to a religion. In Summa Theologica Aquinas says that it is possible for one to discover natural law without the knowledge of divine scripture as Natural Law is found within nature making morality accessible to humans as this Natural Law makes God’s eternal Law. “Good should be done and evil avoided” is governed by the synderesis principle, when making a moral decision, synderesis is right reason, an awareness of the moral principle to do good and avoid evil, and conscientious distinguishes between right and wrong and makes the moral decision. This is distinguished through our nature which we do not need a religion to have. However, many would argue that Natural Law requires belief in God, as it relies on a God-given purpose and since it is God given we must understand God through what Calvin believed the only moral truth can be obtained by: scripture. Therefore, you must have a religion to understand Natural Law. In today’s modernised word less, people are turning to religion as science and technology are constantly being developed and causing more and more people to turn to scientific theories, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, meaning less people are religious and so less people will understand God, meaning that they can not apply natural law to any moral dilemmas, reinforcing that natural law is no longer useful in today’s modern world.

Overall, Natural Moral Law seems widely unhelpful in today’s modern world. The whole premise is based on the idea that the world has a purpose, and that God guides us, however many people may in today’s society do not believe that God exists and might see the world as a more chaotic place with no God or other divine being. It can be helpful in some situations, giving guidelines that are easy for everyone to follow and that do not require taking the situation and potential consequences into account, however it is ultimately flawed.
0
reply
Joe312
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#6
Report 1 month ago
#6
(Original post by Mentor05)
Thanks so much! I will definitely do that. I have just done another practice question, is this better? I have tried to add more A01 and worked on structure. However, please don't feel you have to do this as I don't want to take up to much of your time, you have done more than enough

Is Thomas Aquinas' theory of Natural Law too indebted to Christianity to be a useful ethical theory to a modem audience?

The revival of interest in practical reason has brought in it’s wake renewed philosophical attention to the theories of Natural Law. When examining the feasibility of Natural Law in our contemporary society, it is important to focus on the oldest form of Natural law from Aquinas, and its challenges from a new secular approach. On the one hand, Natural law does manage to create a flexible and autonomous approach to ethics that addresses some of the issues faced by other normative theories such as Utilitarianism. However, on balance it seems that Natural Law cannot contain the same coherence as it once did. Natural Law presupposes belief in the divine which is not compatible with a less religious fundamentalist society as well as allowing for simple ethical questions to become complicated moral dilemmas. Consequently, natural law is not the most useful ethical theory today.

One of the perceived strengths of Natural Law is the idea that is shares common human nature across the world. This means that we can uphold a moral standard that everyone must follow, rather than finding ourselves stuck with moral relativism or subjectivism. This is a benefit as if morality was subjective then any individual, such as Hitler would be able to justify his actions due to his interpretation of morality being subjective. Similarly, if morality is relative to a particular social culture, then what we think of being morally correct could simply just be a social construct, and we shouldn’t enforce this social construct onto others who follow their own moral law. Because of a shared human moral code, Natural Law is one of the few ethical theories that could state plainly and clearly that murder is wrong, without considering the time, place or scene. This argument, though having its merits, is a victim to what is known as the “is-ought” fallacy. This fallacy was introduced by David Hume and he said, “If something is a particular way by ‘nature’, it does not logically follow to conform. Therefore, even if we have a natural inclination to act in a particular way, it doesn’t mean we should always adhere to that precept. Natural law also presents a questionable view of human nature by faithfully believing that Humans share a common nature. Even though human Beings vary greatly, Aquinas seems to presume that we are inherently all the same and fit under the bracket of one human nature. However, a human being may be born homosexual and thus may not share the proposed ‘common’ human code for reproduction. Following this, any secondary precept that denies homosexual sex might be going against their human nature. To be pragmatic however, people have different lifestyles and opinions. Homosexuality would be persecuted under Natural Law because it doesn't seek to reproduce (one of the five primary precepts), but most people would now agree that there is nothing morally wrong with homosexuality. Therefore, the secular and universal ‘strength’ of natural law is fundamentally flawed and exemplifies my belief that natural law cannot be useful for a modern society as moral beliefs and ideologies have changed over time, and because natural law is an absolutist theory, it does not take these changes into account.

On the other hand, it can be argued from a Christian perspective that natural law relies too heavily on reason. Karl Barth stated that human reason was corrupted and therefore cannot be fully trusted. We should instead rely more on the grace of God and revelation in the Bible. Furthermore, from a secular perspective, Aquinas’ view of human reason could be flawed because there is no certain proof of an ultimate purpose which we aim towards. This leads us on to the argument of existentialism, that we assign purpose to something rather than us naturally having a God given purpose. Aquinas was inspired by Aristotle to implement ‘telos’ into his theory of natural law. Aquinas believed that every human and creature has a ‘god given purpose,’ but is that necessarily, correct? Isn’t it more of a logical approach to say that it is humans that assign a purpose to something rather than a godlike figure? For example. Someone may use a cricket bat to hit a ball in a game of cricket, yet is completely different circumstances someone may use a cricket bat to enthusiastically kill spiders, which is indefinitely different from its original purpose. This essentially breaks down natural law, as natural law is based around the idea that God has assigned a purpose to us. There is also a misunderstanding of humans as fundamentally rational beings. For many people, reason is too often clouded by emotional response and what we think is reasonable could just be our egocentric perspective of what we desire out of a situation. The weaknesses of the arguments for Aquinas’s natural law and the logical approach in explaining the weaknesses of the arguments against Aquinas, lead me to believe that natural law is no longer useful in today’

A strength of natural law is that it allows for reason as well as scripture therefore not excluding people with no religion. It combines religious belief and secular reasoning. This theory allows people who aren’t religious to believe in Natural Law and still lead purposeful lives without having to convert to a religion. In Summa Theologica Aquinas says that it is possible for one to discover natural law without the knowledge of divine scripture as Natural Law is found within nature making morality accessible to humans as this Natural Law makes God’s eternal Law. “Good should be done and evil avoided” is governed by the synderesis principle, when making a moral decision, synderesis is right reason, an awareness of the moral principle to do good and avoid evil, and conscientious distinguishes between right and wrong and makes the moral decision. This is distinguished through our nature which we do not need a religion to have. However, many would argue that Natural Law requires belief in God, as it relies on a God-given purpose and since it is God given we must understand God through what Calvin believed the only moral truth can be obtained by: scripture. Therefore, you must have a religion to understand Natural Law. In today’s modernised word less, people are turning to religion as science and technology are constantly being developed and causing more and more people to turn to scientific theories, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, meaning less people are religious and so less people will understand God, meaning that they can not apply natural law to any moral dilemmas, reinforcing that natural law is no longer useful in today’s modern world.

Overall, Natural Moral Law seems widely unhelpful in today’s modern world. The whole premise is based on the idea that the world has a purpose, and that God guides us, however many people may in today’s society do not believe that God exists and might see the world as a more chaotic place with no God or other divine being. It can be helpful in some situations, giving guidelines that are easy for everyone to follow and that do not require taking the situation and potential consequences into account, however it is ultimately flawed.
That's much better structure. The AO2 is very good, A* level. However although there is a lot of impressive AO1 - it's missing the basics of:

- what are the primary precepts and how are they related to our nature.
- how do they relate to secondary precepts.
- although you mention the divine law it wasn't clear you understood its relation to the natural law from what you wrote - and you could just be more explicit and mention the four tiers of law.


Just a couple side points about the AO2 - although it was very good it could always be better:

the is-ought gap can be countered regarding natural law because arguably if the 'is' of our nature was designed by a God who is the source of moral goodness, then we 'ought' to follow it - which is the essence of natural law theory. The is-ought gap is more devastating against secular ethical theories like utilitarianism which can't rely on a God.

It's true Karl Barth was extremely critical of Aquinas' dangerous over-reliance on human reason, but that does rely on Barth's view of original sin corrupting our nature to the point where human powers (including reason) could not discover anything about God, including his morality. However you could disagree with Barth's view of original sin - you could argue we aren't that corrupted - that's certainly what Aquinas thought with his syneresis rule/principle. Also Aquinas doesn't exactly think human reason can discover God's moral law - that would be the divine law - but it can discover the natural law, just like it can discover other natural laws like the laws of physics.
0
reply
Mentor05
Badges: 10
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#7
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#7
(Original post by Joe312)
That's much better structure. The AO2 is very good, A* level. However although there is a lot of impressive AO1 - it's missing the basics of:

- what are the primary precepts and how are they related to our nature.
- how do they relate to secondary precepts.
- although you mention the divine law it wasn't clear you understood its relation to the natural law from what you wrote - and you could just be more explicit and mention the four tiers of law.


Just a couple side points about the AO2 - although it was very good it could always be better:

the is-ought gap can be countered regarding natural law because arguably if the 'is' of our nature was designed by a God who is the source of moral goodness, then we 'ought' to follow it - which is the essence of natural law theory. The is-ought gap is more devastating against secular ethical theories like utilitarianism which can't rely on a God.

It's true Karl Barth was extremely critical of Aquinas' dangerous over-reliance on human reason, but that does rely on Barth's view of original sin corrupting our nature to the point where human powers (including reason) could not discover anything about God, including his morality. However you could disagree with Barth's view of original sin - you could argue we aren't that corrupted - that's certainly what Aquinas thought with his syneresis rule/principle. Also Aquinas doesn't exactly think human reason can discover God's moral law - that would be the divine law - but it can discover the natural law, just like it can discover other natural laws like the laws of physics.
This is so helpful, bless you! I had my Mock today and I used all the feedback you gave me. Thanks so much!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you ever considered or are you currently considering an apprenticeship?

Yes, I am actively considering an apprenticeship (66)
12.24%
I am actively considering an alternative to uni that isn't an apprenticeship (9)
1.67%
I have considered an apprenticeship but it's not for me (141)
26.16%
I am considering a degree apprenticeship (44)
8.16%
I haven't considered an apprenticeship (261)
48.42%
Something else (let us know in the thread!) (18)
3.34%

Watched Threads

View All