I am not a gambling sort of person but I would bet money that you will be asked two application questions. But what about the other two questions? Well, as with my previous predications, all I have to go on is the patterns, links to the specifications and gut instinct (call it my ‘intuition’ if you like).
Meta Ethics: even though this came up last year I still think there is a possibility of it re- appearing (as it makes more appearances than not in the exams). At the end of the day it is not a popular topic therefore it often rears its head repeatedly. If so, my predications are either: Ethical Naturalism specifically or a question worded with Non Cognitive e.g ‘A non cognitive approach is the only way to understand ethical language’ (as emotivism not asked since 2011 and prescriptivism since 2012).
VE: I do not think virtue will come up as a specific question this year but it is worth revising as you might be able to use it in an application answer. If a question on virtue does come up, the only areas never to be asked a question on are specific areas e.g. ‘Evaluate the agent centred approach of Virtue Ethics’ or ‘Critically assess the main principles of virtue ethics’ or ‘The concepts of eudaimonia are flawed.’ However as a specific question came up last year on Golden Mean, I do not see it happening twice but don’t forget this is the last exam to have VE on it (removed from new spec) so might have one last appearance!
Conscience: Very likely! There are a lot of gaps when it comes to conscience questions. There has never been a question on (going back as far as 2007 anyway): Conscience as God given or conscience as instilled by society, parents and authority figures or views of Augustine, Aquinas, Newman, Freud, Fromm or Piaget. Gosh that is a lot of potential questions! My sneaking suspicion is going to be an open question that warrants a number of these areas in one go e.g. ‘Critically assess the view that conscience is instilled by society, parents and authority figures’ or ‘ Believing that conscience is God given is flawed.’
Freewill and Determinism: Possibility but it is unlikely you will get a conscience and FW together on the same paper (but it did happen in 2014 and neither have been on since then). If this topic does come up I think it will be a hard determinism question angled at Theological Approaches such as ‘Theological determinism is more convincing than religious ideas of Freewill.’ You might also get a question on Darrow, Honderich, Hume or Locke (I doubt it though, these seem very specific and just too mean!) Genetic determinism has also not been on in the past.
Sex and Relationships: Contraception is the only area never to be specifically asked. All ethical theories have been mentioned in some way. My conclusion a general question on contraction e.g. “To what extent are ethical theories helpful when considering the issues surrounding contraception.”
Environment and Business: This is a popular area for questions and does come up in the exam quite often. Pretty much everything has been covered in environment other than a question specifically worded on ‘environment, resources and species’ but I doubt this will come up this year. My money is on Globalization which has never been asked and Utilitarianism is the only ethical approach not specified. So I would not be surprised with a ‘Utilitarianism is the best approach to business and globalization.’
So my predications based on previous gaps are (my money is on the parts in bold):
- Conscience (aimed at Freud, Fromm and Piaget or God given)
- FW (theological determinism or genetics)
- Utilitarianism and Globalisation.
- Meta ethics (ethical naturalism or non cog)
(Note: If the exam board are nice you will get a question on conscience and FW if not it will be one of these areas with Meta)
Check out: Consulting the Crystal Ball: Predicting your A2 Ethics Questions to help understand what different questions are looking for. Also “What would Aquinas say about the Environment? Who knows!” Tackling the Application Essays and “Sssshhh we can’t talk about Sex!” Pointers to discuss in A2 Application Questions for application question support.
Please feel free to add your own comments and predications 🙂
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Any students sitting the A2 exams(Philosophy or Ethics) I could not recommend these workbooks enough! Fantastic revision tool to test your knowledge and to prepare you for your exam.