AQA Philosophy A2 Level

Moral Philosophy

How do people justify their actions? How do we understand truth and the application to morality? If truth is external to the individual how do we respond to it? If truth is internal from the individual how we know what is really true? How should we apply these to moral situation?

This part of the course will look at the concept that moral concepts can be understood as being objective. These moral concepts are external to the individual. We need to take account of how the individual is to then respond to these moral truths.


What types of moral truths are there?

1. Transcendent

TRANSCENDENT – Questions!!


  • Too simplistic? Forms and divine command theory suggest that the answer to a moral action is only going to be right or wrong.
    • Is that true considering moral situations? Can we claim there is just one solution?
    • Cognitivism doesn’t claim this


  • Elitism? The cave suggests that only certain people can have access to the truth about morality. Is moral truth elitist and is this interpretation therefore wrong?
    • If we see a doctor we don’t call them elitist just because they know more than us!
    • This does not mean that we cannot work towards a greater understanding ourselves using our reason


  • Weakness of will? If we know what the forms are and we know what the will of God is then why do we act against it?
    • Socrates = ‘No one who either knows or believes that there is another possible course of action, better than the one he is following, will ever continue on his present course’ i.e. if you know what the right thing is you will do it. This means ‘I ought to do x’ is giving yourself a command.
    • Is solution that ‘x is the right thing to do’ but ‘the pleasure of doing y outweighs x’. Therefore the person doesn’t understand that x is really the right thing to do. Aristotle argued this was possible. You therefore need more knowledge about morals to understand how to use your moral knowledge.
    • We are not fully rational creature and do have emotions but can be motivated to do what we do not believe in any sense is best