hij Teacher Resource Bank GCE Religious Studies Unit 1A: Religion and Ethics 1 Scheme of Work

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1 hij Teacher Resource Bank GCE Religious Studies Unit 1A: Religion and Ethics 1 Scheme of Work Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (company number ) and a registered charity (registered charity number ). Registered address: AQA, Devas Street, Manchester M15 6EX. Dr Michael Cresswell, Director General.

2 Introduction to Ethics Aims To begin to explore nature of ethical dilemmas and moral decision making Objectives: (1) To understand what makes these things wrong / right in the view of the author. (2) To understand that the debate about the criteria for making something wrong or right comes before deciding which category specific actions come in to. (3) To understand the difference between is and ought statements. Ethics and Animal Farming From Centre for Applied Bioethics University of Nottingham, funded by Compassion in World Farming Find from newspapers / internet, etc. varying statements or arguments expressing approval / disapproval on current moral issues. Possible illustration: eating meat. Activities: comprehension questions based on passage; construction of arguments for and against meat eating. Analysis of those arguments to identify rules for making decisions that are implied within them or their unspoken assumptions. Contrast between consequentialist / teleological and deontological thinking Introduction to basic ideas of Utilitarianism. Use an issue where the two methods of moral decision making may lead to opposite conclusions, but avoid confusion with Situation Ethics for sake of less able candidates. e.g. Killing one person so that his / her donor organs can save the life of many others those others may be assumed to be people of worth to society in terms of the possible benefits their life may bring. The one whose life is taken may be portrayed as an isolated loner. Contrasting perspective of those operating with idea of moral law or duty. Contrasting idea of human beings with rights rather than as valued solely as happiness generators or experiencers. Fictional case study can be created for students to consider. Organ donation and purchase /education/232.php Brief introduction to Kantian ideas at level suited to students. Ethical Journalism NUJ Code of Conduct klm Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. 1

3 Hedonic Calculus Introduction to Bentham and ethical theory of utilitarianism Idea of utility Nature of happiness (Physical feelings of pleasure for contrast with Mill) Act Utilitarianism Investigation of calculus through application to fictional / real situations chosen by tutor, e.g. Bull fight; animal pain vs pleasure of onlookers Distribution of medical resources selection of organ recipient on basis of benefit to others. Proposed Severn Barrage briefings from English Nature, RSPB on environmental impact and Advantages of Bentham s Utilitarianism including public accountability, common sense ; equality the moral side of democracy Issues with Bentham s (*) Utilitarianism to include conflict with duty ; impossibility of predicting full consequences; not everyone capable of using the calculus; ignores intentions; how should happiness be distributed; hedonism / happiness as an unworthy goal. Discounts idea that some people (e.g. family) have the right to count as more than others. Issues relating to happiness generation can be realised through practical exercise of deciding how a cake / sweets / money may be divided between a group of students. They are asked to decide how happy it will make them, for how long, etc. These are general issues relating to Utilitarianism Mill s amendments imply additional criticisms specific to Bentham. 2 Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. klm

4 Mill s Utilitarianism Key additions / amendments to Bentham s theory Lower and higher pleasures; Self sacrifice having a positive role Quality of happiness: List of definitions of happiness to be sorted in order of priority Discussion of what makes one type of happiness higher than another. Activities List of types of happiness for students to classify as higher or lower pleasures. Judging the utility of rules, e.g. truth telling; not speeding; not using cocaine; no sex outside marriage. Students can be divided into groups with each having to evaluate a different rule. Rules (e.g. truth telling): distinction between weak rule and strong rule Discussion utility of Capital Punishment (supported by Mill in famous speech to Parliament in April 1868). Key (additional) issues: rights / interests of minority groups; merits of different types of happiness and how to weigh them up. WHY should promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest number become my duty? Chosen Issue A wide range of issues are suitable including Genetic engineering / designer babies IVF and surrogacy Legalisation of Drugs Sexual conduct; Same sex marriages (civil partnerships); prostitution Torture Essential that the chosen issue can illustrate all the key points of Utilitarian theory. It would be helpful if it could also be used as a basis for an assessment of the issues arising. klm Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. 3

5 Issues Arising: Strengths and weaknesses Try using the calculus to assess the rightness of the calculus End Pain or Cause Pleasure? Scenarios where the options are the use of happiness making resources to add to pleasure (e.g. gambling, feeding drug addiction, holidays, fashion) or to remove pain (e.g. poverty, hunger, deprivation) groups make judgements both as utilitarians (some as Bentham some as Mill) and using religious principles or teaching. Various happiness making resources to be considered time, money, possessions. Cards with the options on either side are useful here. Ask students to devise their own. Happiness its value as a goal Film extract from The Matrix introduces an unreal world where individuals are kept falsely happy allowing students to evaluate option. How compatible with a religious approach? Groups of students can take different examples / arguments or approaches to the question each writing a paragraph or section. Contrast the outcome of some decisions arrived at using utilitarianism with traditional moral code (e.g. prostitution) Show how outcomes may in fact be similar, e.g. Rule Utilitarianism and quality of happiness To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbour as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality. J.S. Mill Utilitarianism, 1863 Show how situationism can be considered utilitarian Could also draw on Buddhism its morality has been seen as utilitarian and on aspects of New Testament parables. Opportunity to use more than one religion useful here. Buddhism is strongly Utilitarian according to some. 4 Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. klm

6 Situationism N.B. This approach follows the Specification order. Need not do so. Introduction nature of traditional Christian Ethics (law based). Illustrations of how Christians differ. Love as only law biblical basis. Bible search. Fletcher on Christian love the 6 principles. These are the slogans of Situationism. There is opportunity for drama / acting out objections to rigid legalism here. Case studies supposed weaknesses of legalistic approaches to Christian moral decision making their consequences. Issues surrounding, e.g. use of condoms; designer babies; truth telling. There are a number of high profile issues including abortion. Contrasting attitudes to sexual morality would also illustrate point. e.g. Matthew 5v 43f; 22v37f; Luke 6v27f; John13 v34;15v12f; Romans 13v9f; 1 Corinthians 13 Galatians 5 v13-18 Catholic Church and condoms: Situation responsibility of the decision maker to analyse the unique situation in which a decision is required case studies for students to identify relevant needs and interests. klm Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. 5

7 Four presumptions Biblical precedent Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath Mark 2 27 Pragmatism Relativism Positivism Personalism Examples relevant to Situation Ethics are often decisions taken in extreme circumstances, e.g. decision to eat the flesh of the dead after a plane crash (1974 film Alive recalls the events of Uruguyan Air Force Flight 571). Mother refusing cancer treatment to save unborn baby. ( My wife has been in a coma for many months and may never recover. Does this force me to be celibate? Disabled girl to have womb removed: Fletcher s own examples are useful here the woman who decided to get pregnant by a concentration camp guard in order to be reunited with her husband and children; a mother who killed her crying baby so that it would not give the whereabouts of the group away. Overview / Summary Middle point between legalism and antinomianism (definitions and illustrations). Understanding of conscience what it is not (Fletcher, chapter 2 ) and what it is. This acts as introduction to issue. Chosen Issue Many possible issues / areas, e.g.: Sexual Ethics Genetic Engineering / Designer babies The topic should allow students to explore all aspects of Situationism and could also be used to address issues arising. An issue where the situationist approach is likely to differ from that of traditional Christians would work best. 6 Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. klm

8 Evaluation Strengths and weaknesses Both can be identified from examples of what may happen when Situation Ethics is applied, e.g.: Lying to a murderer about the location of his victim (positive outcome, no cost except truth) Breaking the law of the land because in your view it leads to injustice (positive examples, e.g. apartheid) Acting out of love but causing nothing but suffering (making the wrong decision for the right reasons). Some sources offer a list (e.g. Bowie, Ethical Studies (2008) p 105) Love the highest Christian Law allowing anything for the right reason? Compatible with other forms of Christian decision-making Jesus as law breaker Sabbath; association with outcasts / gentiles; corban. Support from biblical extracts above. God as love. Fletcher love over rides when necessary but takes commandments into account; Laws may usually prescribe the most loving action. Extreme cases and exceptional actions? Casuistry. Is some suffering pointless and can allowing pointless avoidable suffering be justified within a Christian framework? Practical? Are all people capable decision-makers? How far is it possible to foresee consequences? Are laws not better overall? Is justice better served by laws (e.g. decisions that vary in context need to be fairly arrived at). To be consistently applied, situtationism may need laws klm Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. 7

9 Religious teaching about the nature and value of human life Key question 1 What does it mean to be human? Ideas from various perspectives use can be made here of other subjects students study (literature / biology). Diversity of humanity can be explored visually DNA human identity immediately links humanity to animals sharing more than 99% of same DNA The implications of some definitions are than some humans are more human than others (examples may be offered of those who have believed and acted on this) Key ideas from chosen religion explored through extracts / speakers Animal sentience as a stimulus for discussion about similarities between animals and humans e.g. Fatalism / Free will Issue arising In the context of chosen religion, e.g. Islam. Explored through scripture and writings or from students own prior knowledge and understanding, e.g. concept of God as omnipotent and all knowing; all promises and commitments God willing and duty to accept all events as Will of God. Case studies focus on when individuals may / may not be responsible for their actions, e.g. Depression,Premenstrual syndrome, Schizophrenia, The Gay gene. Equality and Difference Issue arising Differences picked up from diversity of humanity explored above race; gender; disability. Background Christian ideas humanity in the image of God Curse of Ham Notion of equality of duty; value and rights. (Right to be treated equally and relation to right to be treated the same ) Religious attitudes from historical (e.g. slavery and apartheid) and contemporary context including justification offered for discrimination. (Roman Catholic / Anglican debate on clergy) Attitudes to disability including supposed link between sin and disability in Christian thinking; miracles and idea that disabled are imperfect version of image of God. See e.g. Positive affirmation of disability and racial and gender differences Exploration of notion of equality and its limitations in religion can be wide ranging. Disability and gender can link to abortion debate to follow. 8 Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. klm

10 Value of life Issue arising Core idea of value of life, e.g. from Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul 2 f_jp-ii_enc_ _evangelium-vitae_en.html Introduction section 2 Gift from God; in stewardship from God; self sacrifice biblical basis and distinction from suicide; quality of life definition(s); how quality of life may be judged and by whom. Duty to preserve LIFE (quality) or physical living. Non-human life human responsibility for non-human life the tension between dominion and stewardship in Christian thinking; contexts when human / non-human life are in competition and which is more important (e.g. mosquitoes; rare species on land needed for housing; food animals; animal experiments. Links to differences note above and to abortion debate to follow. Abortion When does life start? Various views research exercise. Who decides? Case Studies: e.g. impact of pro and anti abortion choices on children / unborn / mothers. Conflicts of interests and principle of double effect; value of the unborn life vs quality of life for others. Abortion legislation including the relevance of religious beliefs in this process; Ethical issues involved: e.g. right to life; duty to preserve life; right of the mother to self defence; mother s rights to liberty and self determination; Case for and against the application of methods of moral decision making applied, including: traditional religious, utilitarian and situationists. Acts and Omissions justifying giving birth as well as abortion. Although candidates MUST NOT select either abortion or euthanasia when they are asked to write about the application of Utilitarianism or Situation Ethics to an issue of their choice, they MAY refer to both utilitarianism and situationism when writing about abortion or euthanasia. klm Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. 9

11 Euthanasia Definitions case studies to illustrate active and passive / voluntary and involuntary. Assisted Suicide euthanasia in all but name? e.g. Dignitas clinic Switzerland Euthanasia Legislation Issues: Right to end life; duty of medical practitioner to offer the service; duty to live; duty to reduce suffering; right to self-determination; relevance of religious views in legislation process. Case for and against the application of methods of moral decision making, including: traditional religious, utilitarian and situationists. Slippery Slope arguments Identification in abortion euthanasia debate; Presentation and analysis of such reasoning. Issues arising Conclusions drawn from arguments rehearsed above plus: definition of murder and arguments for and against abortion being murder. What it means to judge an action as Good various views and classification of abortion and euthanasia. Right to life an unquestionable human right? Internet search produces a range of articles about Dignitas. See Paul Badham s article at: /Euthanasia.htm 10 Copyright 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. klm

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