This live stream answered last minute questions and covered final top tips for achieving high grades in the Ethics exam:
Before I channel my inner psychic, I have just one word about the Philosophy exam…ANSELM!!! Out of all the questions you could have been asked for Nature of God, you got what I class to be one of the hardest questions. Not only is it a very tricky topic as a whole, Anselm is a very small part of it. What we can learn from this is OCR are still testing and challenging you…we need to be ready tomorrow!
Now my predictions are not particularly accurate (I only got Aristotle’s Prime Mover totally right in the last exam) but I do not share my predictions with you to be correct. I share them with you to give you an idea of what to expect or what to be prepared for. And at least I got the topic areas right. So here goes…
Topic areas for your four questions I think will be: Meta, Conscience, Euthanasia and Sex. I doubt they will double up questions (ask you more than one question on the same topic) but it is possible, so you need to know all topics just in case.
When it comes to Meta Ethics:-
- There has never been a question on Ethical Naturalism so I think you will either get a question that clearly mentions EN e.g “‘Good’ is best explained through naturalism” or more likely yet “Ethical terms such as good, bad, right and wrong have an objective factual basis that makes them true or false in describing something” – as this question allows you to explore both EN and I.
- They may also keep the Q more open e.g “What is meant by the word ‘good’ is the defining question in the study of ethics” -which is open to all three approaches.
Conscience is the topic that worries me! Why…because it is an easier topic with only Aquinas and Freud, yet the questions they could ask might be seriously tricky (and after the Anselm Q in Philosophy I think you need to be ready). You might be lucky and get a nice question on either Aquinas or Freud but unfortunately these have both been asked before. It is possible to be set the same question again but you also need to be prepared for a COMPARE q!! The areas that have not been asked are a comparison between Aquinas and Freud on:
- Presence or absence of God,
- Process of moral decision making.
My money is on one of these three comparison areas, with number three being the nicest.
I think your question on Euthanasia will be a general question and not specify NL or SE such as:
- “The religious concept of sanctity of life has no meaning in the 21t century.” Discuss
- A comparison between SOL and QOL
- “There is no moral difference between medical intervention to end a patient’s life and medical non intervention to end a patient’s life.” Discuss
Each of these questions you could bring in NL and/or SE to develop your evaluation and analysis but you must make sure you stay focused on the specific question throughout and any wider points you bring in, you must make it clear how and why they are relevant to your LOA.
There are a number of questions you could get asked within Sex Ethics. I think they will keep the question open on the theories but specific on the theme (e.g homosexuality, pre or extra). My advice for this one is check out the blog on past questions specifically the gaps (question areas never asked before) for sex ethics and make sure you have enough material to answer those questions.
Good luck to all of you tomorrow! You have worked very hard so this is your opportunity to show off!
First of all I was very uninspired by yesterday’s Philosophy questions (my feeling was a bit ‘meh’). I think they were deceivingly difficult i.e ‘Analyse Aristotle’s four causes’ appears easy but you would really have to work on developing and formulating strong evaluation with so few words to work with in the question. What is also noticeable is that Teleological and POE both came up in the first year’s exam as well. What this means is that there is no correlation between first year and second year questions. I think the exam board are going out of their way to make the questions as unpredictable as possible and thus repeating a lot of the same areas (Bonhoeffer in DCT has come up three times already -there has only been four exams!). But that is now old news…let’s look ahead towards ethics.
Here are the previous questions from the first and second year’s exams:
All that we can learn from looking at these is how the questions are worded. The obvious gaps in the second year are: Sex ethics, SE and Euthanasia and Util and Business. However the way that the examiners are throwing in a few curve balls, you need to go into that exam ready for anything.
So I think potential question areas could be:
Students often find Ethics a bit easier to get their heads around than Philosophy, maybe because it links more with everyday life or because there is just less of it. Either way when it comes to the exam you need to be sharp with your structure, keep your application answers under control and suppress your need to write like a GCSE student (especially when it comes to euthanasia …your body is God’s temple snore!!)
So this blog is structured to support with: the style of ethics questions, structure of essays, tips per topic, application discussion themes, final tips and top three mistakes.
Ethics questions roughly follow four styles:
- Specific topic – application open (Natural Law is useful when dealing with moral decisions)
- Specific topic with specific application (Kantian ethics is helpful when dealing with issues surrounding business ethics)
- Specific topic alone (There are no strengths with the Natural Law theory)
- Application (The religious concept of sanctity of life is outdated)
- Natural Law and Situation Ethics go together with Euthanasia
- Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism go together with Business
- All four go with Sex Ethics (2nd year)
This means if the question is worded like Q1 (above) you need to know which ethical issues to link to the topic in the question. For example Kant is only applied to business not euthanasia.
If the question implies that a certain topic is the ‘ best approach’ you might want to compare it with the other topic from that section. So “Utilitarianism is the best approach to business ethics” you might wish to compare to Kant (see: “Utilitarianism is more useful than Kantian Ethics when dealing with ethical dilemmas” Discuss: Student’s Work to help.)
Structure of essays: