The TES RE Group is a great source of lesson ideas and inspiration and is the place to share best practice and get your questions answered by your peers. This is also where you go to debate the latest issues in the teaching of RE.
YES! I'm about to complain to OCR about this! I know that the mixture of conscience/free-will and applied ethics was part of the previous spec but nowhere on the current spec does it say that students will be required to answer a question on the two. We need to complain.
Thanks so much. I'm quite new to OCR and was feeling a bit incompetent! I will add my complain to yours. Thanks for the link
Thanks all. Did used to be with Edexcel - found the anthology very dry and not suitable for not so able students. Think A level specs are due to change again soon and I will certainly be investigating them all! Nosey matron - these were the questions. I think 3&4 are awful - let me know what you think please
1. all ethical lang is prescriptive. discuss
2.critically assess the claim that freewill and determinism are compatible
3. to what extent do modern versions of virtue ethics address the weaknesses of Aristotle's teaching on virtue?
4. 'for moral issues surrounding sex the demands of conscience overide other ethical considerations' discuss.
thanks for posting the questions. Although I have taught AS OCR Religious Ethics for 3 years, this is my first time through with A2 and I only picked up the class in January. So it's difficult for me to make a judgement call about a largely unfamiliar syllabus.
Having said that, the last question would not be the sort I would have anticipated.
Q3 presumably involves briefly outlining Aristotle's version of Virtue Ethics with an emphasis on its weaknesses followed by a discussion and evaluation of (I would imagine) MacIntyre.
Even though my knowledge of Virtue Ethics is vague and in need of refreshment, I do recall that there is a quite devastating critique of this perspective in John Doris's book Lack Of Character. I'd need to check but I suspect that this critique would apply to both ancient and modern versions of Virtue Ethics. Roughly, Doris invokes famous experiments in social psychology (The Milgram Obedience to Authority studies and Zimbardo's Stanford Prison experiment) to argue that what we bring to the table in terms of virtues that we might claim to have cultivated fly out of the window if we find ourselves in the wrong kind of environment. So environment not character is the ultimate determinant of moral behaviour.
If you type 'Five Steps to Tyranny' into youtube you will discover an excellent documentary that showcases the Milgram and Zimbardo studies.
Doris's book is dense but well-written and readable.
Hope this helps!
Are there any teachers of the OCR spec who would have prepared students for question 4 in particular? If so, how important is the synoptic table that appears at the end of the spec on the OCR website?
Wow delahay, you have included some very useful pointers there. Thanks for taking the time to detail them.
To return to that question on conscience and sexual ethics, this is a topic the previous teacher covered and so I will only be looking at it for the very first time when we revise it. However, in the new edition of Practical Ethics, Peter Singer briefly discusses conscience (on pages 259-262).
In this section , he outlines some different (and conflicting) notions of conscience and considers the following example:
'...an unmarried woman brought up as a strict Roman Catholic to believe that sex outside marriage is always wrong may abandon her religion and come to hold that there is no sound basis for restricting sex to marriage - yet continue to feel guilty when she has sex. She may refer to those guilt feelings as her 'conscience', but if that is her conscience should she follow it?'
I will almost certainly be using this example (and the section as a whole) when I embark on revision with my Year 13's.
I have been teaching OCR for 12 years. This question came up several years ago for the OLD specification and I think that it is completely wrong that they have put it in the new specificiation. We didn't have anyone doing the january paper but I think that questions 3 and 4 are hard. There have been loads of complaints on the OCR community website about hard questions, poor and harsh marking and yet OCR seems to be doing nothing to rectify the situation.
Am currently revising A2 ethics (including Virtue Ethics for the first time - a topic that a colleague of mine taught just prior to their departure).
Virtue Ethics is fairly straightforward but that January question isn't. It's almost as if OCR is deliberately trying to get us to move to another board.
My other reason for being here is to mention two books that have just been published.
Sharon Kaye (possible sexual ethics material here)
Michael Sandel (Business Ethics)
Just like to add that I consider Oliphant to be a second-rate author. Her discussion of Slote's distinction between agent focused and agent based theories of Virtue Ethics is terribly opaque, as is her explanation of Ross on prima facie duties.
Why don't OCR commission philosophers with the 'common touch' like Stephen Law, Gary Hayden or Julian Baggini to write these books?
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