Presentation on theme: "A2 Ethics How to assess arguments and theories. Aims To discuss various methods of assessing arguments and theories To apply these methods to some."— Presentation transcript:
Aims To discuss various methods of assessing arguments and theories To apply these methods to some of the ideas we have studied To practise writing introductions to A2 questions
A2 questions A01 – 21 marks A02 – 14 marks Don’t divide the essay into sections a) and b) Instead include explanation and evaluation throughout your work
A2 questions Lots of people write essays that outline a variety of opposing views and then conclude by saying something like this: ‘It’s hard to say which view is stronger. Really it depends on your beliefs. Personally I like the views of X, but I can totally understand why someone else would prefer Y.’ What is weak about this conclusion?
Discussion How could you determine whether a particular argument or theory is stronger or weaker than its competitors?
Making your evaluation stronger You need to identify strengths and weaknesses in a theory, but then also make comments like: ‘X fails to take into account ….’ ‘Y wrongly assumes that …’ ‘Z tends to ignore the fact that …’
How to assess arguments and theories Testing the theory Empirical adequacy What evidence supports the view? Coherence Does the argument make sense? Comprehensiveness Does it take account of range of factors?
Empirical adequacy To what extent does the particular argument fit the evidence available? John Locke - a man believes he makes a decision to stay in a locked room, but in reality he has no choice. He is not free to leave the room. Similarly we think we can choose to do Y and not X. We are ignorant of the fact that our choices are determined Is this argument empirically weak or strong?
Coherence Do the various aspects of the theory fit together well in a way that makes sense? Is the argument clear? Does it possess a logical chain of reasoning? Are its assumptions plausible? Natural Law states that the laws of nature work in harmony in a rational structure. To be good something must fulfil its purpose, which can be discovered using reason. Therefore morality is independent of religion. Is this argument coherent?
Comprehensiveness Does the theory take account of a broad range of factors or is its focus too narrow? Is it only relevant to particular places and times? Can it be supported by lots of different examples? Fromm argues that the fear of displeasing authority figures leads to guilt and submission. The authoritarian conscience forces obedience and conformity Is this argument comprehensive?
Answering A2 questions Start by stating what your answer to the question is Don’t answer the question as if it was some kind of mystery tour through the different options In your introduction, give a brief outline of the reasons for your answer In the rest of the essay, explain these reasons in more detail
Answering A2 questions Spend 10 minutes on each question – just give a brief outline of the reasons for your answer: 1.How far would you agree that environmental issues are more of a concern to a religious believer than to a Utilitarian? 2.‘People are not free to make moral decisions.’ Discuss. 3.‘Kant’s theory is the most useful ethical theory for a business to use.’ Discuss. 4.Assess the view that conscience should always be obeyed