Ethical Theories

Mind Map by uncoolsafa, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by uncoolsafa over 5 years ago


A-Level Ethics Mind Map on Ethical Theories, created by uncoolsafa on 02/04/2015.

Resource summary

Ethical Theories
1 ABSOLUTISM (morality) - making normative ethical decisions based on objective rules (strict) -> maintains some things are intrinsically either right OR wrong, fixed for all time, places and people.
1.1 Pros:
1.1.1 Fair, as all rules are the same for every situation Universal and simple; easy to follow Can support universal law, e.g. UN declaration of human rights Allows law to progress Popular for religious believers.
1.2 Cons:
1.2.1 Life is not ‘black and white’ : not simple to make everyone live by the same rules Who decides what rules are right or wrong? Every circumstance is different Absolutists can be intolerant to/of cultural diversity
2 RELATIVISM – nothing is intrinsically right or wrong (flexible) -> popular modern day theory, the belief that everyone should be tolerant towards other beliefs and views.
2.1 Pros:
2.1.1 Allows for diversity Allows that life isn’t black and white = situations are all different A dependency thesis: depends on society to decide what is right/wrong Stands apart from religious authority Cultures will allow acceptance and a greater understanding of cultures if using relativism
2.2 Cons:
2.2.1 Just because of different views, doesn’t mean they’re right; Nazi, etc Cultural relativism reduces what is ‘good’ to what is socially acceptable Relativists often seen as selfish Doesn’t allow law to progress Too forgiving to certain situations Too many ‘grey’ areas
3 Absolutism vs. Relativism
3.1 Relativists...
3.1.1 would see the religious significance and that the importance of the practise to the religion /religious community and will therefore not condemn it.
3.2 Absolutists...
3.2.1 can appear to be intolerant to views of others e.g. if they’re against the cruelty to animals, they would be against the religious methods of slaughtering animals.
4 Deontological theory
4.1 ABSOLUTISM = deontological theory -> doing what is right, following rules and duty.
4.2 Able to take strong moral positions on certain actions.
4.3 Not flexible enough to take into account special circumstances/cultural groups.
4.4 Concerned with the nature of each individual’s act themselves – based on laws
4.4.1 acts are intrinsically right or wrong.
5 Teleological (consequentialist) theory
5.1 Relativism = teleological -> what is right/wrong, depends on the end or outcome of an action.
5.2 An action isn’t intrinsically good, but good by the virtue (righteousness) of the result
5.3 Weaknesses: how can you be sure of what the end is? Do ends justify the means?
5.3.1 Concerned with the consequences of actions.
5.4 Utilitarianism + Situation Ethics = Teleological Theories.
5.5 Act -> Consequence = Important
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