Specification for AQA AS Religious Studies Ethics 1

Specification for AQA AS Religious Studies Ethics 1

Focusing on Utilitarianism and Abortion & Euthanasia 

From the AQA website


Utilitarianism AO1

• The general principles of Utilitarianism: the greatest happiness principle; consequential or teleological thinking in contrast to deontological thinking 

• Bentham’s Utilitarianism, the hedonic calculus 

• Mill’s Utilitarianism, quality over quantity 

• Act and Rule utilitarianism

• The application of Bentham’s and Mill’s principles to one ethical issue of the candidate’s choice apart from abortion and euthanasia 

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Utilitarianism AO2

• Strengths and weaknesses of the ethical systems of Bentham 

and Mill 

• Which is more important – the ending of pain and suffering, or 

the increase of pleasure? 

• How worthwhile is the pursuit of happiness, and is it all that 

people desire? 

• How compatible is Utilitarianism with a religious approach to 


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Abortion AO1

• Abortion: definitions for the start of human life and their relevance 

to the abortion debate, including: potentiality, conception, 

primitive streak, viability, birth 

– The value of potential life – differing views 

– Mother’s versus child’s interests, double effect 

– Ethical issues involved in legislation about abortion 

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Euthanasia AO1

• Euthanasia: active or passive, voluntary, involuntary and non- 


– Ethical issues involved in legislation about euthanasia; issues 

concerning quality of life and their relevance to the euthanasia 


– The role of hospices and palliative care (as alternatives to 


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Abortion and Euthanasia AO1

• Arguments for and against abortion and euthanasia with reference to religious and ethical teachings 

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Abortion and euthanasia AO2

• Does the definition of human life stop abortion being murder? 

• Can abortion and euthanasia ever be said to be ‘good’? 

• Do humans have a right to life, and a right to choose to die?

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