Ethics application subjects
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What is voluntary euthanasia?
Performed at the subject's request
What is active voluntary euthanasia?
When the patient is given treatment that is deliberately designed to end with death
What is passive voluntary euthanasia?
Withdrawal of food and water resulting in the gradual death of a patient
What is non-voluntary euthanasia?
When the patient is not able to decide or communicate their wishes and another person (usually relative) makes the decision
What is Involuntary euthanasia?
When the decision is made against the patient's wishes or consent is not sought after, even though the patient is able to express their wishes themselves
Is euthanasia legal in the UK?
No because of the Suicide Act of 1961
you cannot 'aid, counsel or abet in the suicide of another'
How long could you go to jail for in the UK if you help them to be euthanised/commit suicide?
Why do people want to be euthanised?
- Relieve pain
- Take away burden on family
- They believe they have the right to die
When did abortion become legal in the UK?
How many weeks into pregnancy can a woman have an abortion?
Under what conditions may a woman have an abortion (4)
- The baby is threatening the life of the mother
- There is a reasonable risk that if the child were born it would suffer from serious physical or mental handicaps.
- Existing children would suffer as a result of the baby being born
- Necessary to protect the mother's mental health
How many abortions are there each year in the UK?
Why do people disagree with abortion? (3)
- The baby has personhood therefore human rights which need to be respected
- Procedure is mentally and physically damaging
- There are lots of infertile couples who want a child but cannot have one
Define what a person is and whether a foetus is a person or not
A person is a being that has human genetics and can be rational and independent. Must be sentient (have feelings) and therefore requires a conscience.
Based on this, from a scientific pov a foetus is not a person
Why might Christians disagree with abortion? (4)
- Body was given to you by God
- A foetus is a person from conception
- Humans should procreate
What are property rights?
The concept that everyone has certain rights, including the right to decide what to do with your body
Why might feminists support abortion? (4)
- Women should not be forced to have child
- A decision made without male control
- Allows women to pursue what they really want (such as a career or education)
- Shows intelligence that they know they will not provide properly for baby
Define: quality of life
The standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual
Why do some people object to the concept of having an abortion if the child will not have a good quality of life? (3)
- There is no clear definition of what a good life is
- Professionals (doctors) should not decide whether a person will have a good quality life
- Quality of life varies from person to person and in different societies
What does sanctity of life mean?
The sacredness of human life
When might abortion be seen as an 'imperfect moral alternative'
When it is done to protect the life of the mother
Why might Some people say that the foetus has the right to life?
Because it is a potential human being
What groups of people do not consider a fertilized human egg before
implantation to satisfy the criteria of personhood?
philosophers, particularly utilitarians
What are the varying times that people believe a foetus becomes a human? (3)
- At conception
- At birth
- When it is ensouled (given soul)
What is ensoulment?
The time when the soul enters the foetus and it becomes a human being
What are the criticisms of ensoulment? (3)
- Depends on a dualist view
- Moment of ensoulment cannot be defined
- No biological basis
What is a liberal Christian view on abortion?
Depends on situation and application but not necessarily bad
What does the UN declaration of human rights say about the rights to a child?
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race or nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family
What is the argument for the child being a gift not a right?
- Children are not commodities (tradable items)
- God has granted the child as a gift
- God decides who has children and who cannot
- Infertility is nature's way of keeping the population in check
What is the argument for the child being a right not a gift?
- UN declaration of human rights states people have right to 'found a family'
- Not everyone can have children, if it was a right we would all have the ability
What does it mean to be pro-life?
- Against abortion
- Belief in the sanctity of life
- Fetus has rights
What does it mean to be pro-choice?
- Consider abortion as an option
- Belief that baby is not yet a human
- Embryo has no rights
What is the Roman Catholic view on IVF?
- Roman Catholics do not approve of any
- form of fertility treatment with
- intervention e.g. IVF or donor eggs
- condemns any procedure that involves
- conception without sexual intercourse.
- They do not believe that couples have a
- right to children.
- Roman Catholics do
- approve of childless couples adopting
Define: genetic engineering
Deliberate manipulation, modification or recombination of DNA in order to alter the characteristics of an organism
What are the benefits of genetic engineering? (2)
- Solution to issues of poor quality of life
- Increases food supply to feed poor and growing populations
- Company yields increased
- Reduction in use of pesticides
Define: transgenic organism
A living organism is given genes from different organisms like plants, animals, viruses or bacteria
In what way might animals be genetically modified? (2)
- Less prone to disease
- Produce better quality food
What is a stem cell?
A cell at an early stage of development (up to 14 days in the UK) which has the potential to develop into any type of cell
What is a designer baby?
A baby whose genetic makeup has been selected to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics
What is a saviour sibling?
A baby whose genetic information has been selected so their stem cells can be used to treat a sibling
What are the negative consequences of using a saviour sibling?
- Saviour sibling may feel used or unwanted
- Sense that the sibling in need is more important than them
Why are adult stem cells different from embryo stem cells?
Adult stem cells only have the potential to grow into the cell of whatever organ they came from, whereas embryo stem cells have the potential to be any type of body cell
What are cloned embryonic stem cells?
Body tissue taken from an adult that has been cloned to produce an embryo that is genetically identical to the adult
What happens to unwanted embryos in human embryo research?
They are destroyed
What might embryo stem cells be used for? (2)
- To repair diseased tissue
- Drug testing
What is the opposition to human embryo research? (3)
- Morally wrong to use sacred, potential human being in this way
- Consequences of cloning cells are unknown
- May lead to slippery slope of reproductive cloning (producing complete clones)
The belief that war and violence are always unjustifiable
Belief that war and violence are only justifiable in defense of vulnerable and helpless people
Define: just war
The belief that to resort to violence or war is justifiable if it meets certain criteria
The belief that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to promote or defend its interests
How are the views on war different in the new and old testaments?
Old testament depicts God as being full of wrath and fury whereas the new testament shows God as promoting peace, harmony and love
What are the 'just in bello' criteria of a just war? (6)
- Proper Authority
- Just Cause
- Right Intention - The outcome being sought should be noble, generally to bring about peace
- Last Resort
- Proportionality - The damage caused by going to war must not be greater than the good achieved
- Win Possible - there should be a good chance of success
- Comparative Justice - neither side will ever be without fault, but you need to be more right than your opponents
What is a Christian's duty?
To act in the way Jesus did, promoting harmony, love and peace
What is a Christian's view to violence?
- Violence creates more violence
- Don't be violent
What are virtue ethics?
- Morality based on the goof an action produces for the moral agent
- If a person is surrounded by violence they become desensitised to it and accept it
What is the Quaker view on war?
- Refuse to fight (Friends Ambulance)
- Peaceful means can be used to prevent a conflict
What is the main strength of pacifism?
It is a set of absolute values and is committed to non-violence with a strong value of human life
What is the main weakness of pacifism?
Condones immoral actions but doesn't fight against them
What are the origins of the Just War theory?
- St Ambrose of Milan said that war could be justified if it defended your neighbours.
- He said war is a 'moral imperative' and Christians should fight for the oppressed
- He suggests Pacificism
What does 'just ad bellum' mean?
justice of restorting to war
What does 'just in bello' mean?
Justice of conduct during war
What does 'just post bellum' mean?
Justice after war
Augustine followed Ambrose's Just War teachings. What two reasons did he say a war could take place under?
- If it was decreed by a lawful authority
- If there was a just cause
Augustine believed war should bring peace, even if that means the loss of innocent lives
What are the arguments against the Just war theory? (3)
- Can be hard to distinguish between civilians and soldiers (Vietnam war)
- War and justice have no place together (there is never a just reason for war)
- People aim to justify war instead of peaceful means
What are the arguments for the Just war theory? (3)
- Tries to protect innocent people
- Encourages combatants to think of moral implications of their actions
- Gives rules of conduct
- Maintains the idea of dignity
- Aims to prevent excess of warfare
- Culture is respected
What might the approach of a follower of natural law be on war?
- Consider the motives and means of conflict
- The Just war theory is natural law in action in warfare because it looks at virtue and proportionality
- A peaceful society can only exist if there is peace and war may provide peace
What might the approach of a follower of Kantian ethics be on war? (5)
- Against war based on property rights of rulers
- Against standing armies
- In war people are used as the means to an end and this is wrong as everyone has autonomy
- Rational citizens would choose to live in peace, not in war
- Soldiers fight because they feel it is their duty to do so
What might the approach of a follower of utilitarian ethics be on war?
- War is acceptable if it brings the greatest good for the greatest number however war is more likely to disadvantage greatest number
- Difficult to apply the hedonic calculus to war, as there are too many uncertainties
How does sanctity of life relate to euthanasia?
- based on the SoL argument, euthanasia is bad because:
- 1. it doesn't value humans for what they are worth
- 2. human life is a basic good, and that life is being taken away
- 3. it is the destruction of a sacred human life
How does Kantian ethics relate to euthanasia?
- Kant said rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves, not as a means to something else
- Existence gives us value, not the quality of our lives. Making euthanasia wrong
- Euthanasia doesn't respect our inherent worth
What are the Christian views on Genetic engineering?
Roman Catholics: unnatural, deemed wrong by the Pope, playing God
Liberal Christian: God has given us brain to figure out how to cure diseases, genetic engineering welcomed
Other: God doesn't want humans to suffer and genetic engineering stops suffering, saviour siblings are an extension of parental love
What is the natural law approach to genetic engineering?
- Embryos are unique and sacred and should not be used for research
- Imperfections are built into nature
What is the utilitarian approach to genetic engineering?
- Actions should be good for humanity, if the research is successful then genetic engineering may be considered acceptable
- However, it could also be said that stopping genetic engineering would benefit society as we do not know the consequences of it
What is the natural law approach to abortion?
- Doesn't adhere to the primary precept of preservation of life
- Abortion is always a wrong act
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