Here are some guidelines from the examiner on how to answer the question:  “For moral issues surrounding sex the demands of conscience override other ethical considerations.” Discuss (OCR G582 Q4)
 Jan 2012 G582 Q4 “For moral issues surrounding sex the demands of conscience override other ethical considerations.” Discuss (Jan 2012) Mark scheme for Jan 2012AO1

Candidates may consider the different approaches to conscience – innate and religious using ideas from Butler and Newman or learnt and secular using ideas from Freud, Fromm and Piaget, and apply these ideas to issues surrounding sex.

Candidates may concentrate their answer on the views of one scholar’s approach such as that of Freud.

They may also discuss the ideas of conscience from Aquinas which requires the right moral principles to be applied as far a possible in each situation – they may then explain how these can be applied to issues surrounding sex.

They may give examples to illustrate their discussion.

They may contrast the demands of conscience with the approaches of ethical theories such as Utilitarianism, Kantian ethics or Virtue Ethics. They may make the link between Aquinas’ idea of conscience and Natural Law as far as issues surrounding sex are concerned.


Candidates may assess whether following conscience will always give a reliable response and how important it is as a moral guide. They may discuss the importance of educating the conscience and how decisions about sex can be influenced by society and culture, for example the changing attitudes towards homosexuality.

They could argue that conscience is not reliable and using an ethical theory might be more useful.

Alternatively they could assess whether our moral values are discovered through reasoning, and also past and shared experiences of the consequences of human actions as far as the issues surrounding sex are concerned.

G582 June 2012 Q1 How convincing are Butler’s claims that people have an innate sense of right and wrong? [35]







Past Questions

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