OCR past questions on Kant

Kantian Ethics

Here are some past questions from the OCR board for AS level. It is important to analyse past questions to know the mind of the examiner. Often question themes repeat themselves, even if the wording is different. Then produce essay plans and, very important, practise under timed conditions.

The question number follows the date of the paper. By going to the OCR website, you can download a marksheme for that question, which gives valuable guidance on how to achieve an A grade.The specification changed in 2008, (see Jan 2009 paper) so that the sections are marked out of 25 for part a. and 10 for part b. The two parts reflect different skills: part a. tests knowledge and understanding, part b. analysis and evaluation.

Remember Kant can also be used for questions with the words deontological (duty based) and absolute (see absolute and relative morality) or a question about the importance of motive or duty.

Specimen
a) ‘People should always do their duty.’ Explain how Kant understood this concept.
b) ‘The use of the Categorical Imperative makes no room for compassionate treatment of women who want abortions’. Discuss.

January 2001
a) Give an account of Kant’s theory of ethics.
b) How helpful would this theory be when faced with the problem of dying without dignity?

June 2001
a) Describe Kant’s reasons for defending the need for the Categorical Imperative.
b) How useful are Kantian ethics for drawing conclusions about the right to life?

January 2002
a) Describe Kant’s theory of duty as the basis for morality.
b) How satisfactory is his theory for practical purposes?

January 2005
a) Explain Kant’s theory of duty
b) “Kant’s theory has no serious weaknesses”. Discuss.

Jan 2007
a) Explain the Hypothetical and Categorical Imperatives.
b) ‘It is always right to do one’s duty.’ Discuss.

June 2007
4 a) Explain the Hypothetical and Categorical Imperatives. [33]
b) ‘It is always right to do one’s duty.’ Discuss. [17]

January 2008
a) Explain the main principles of Kant’s theory of duty.
b) ‘Duty does not help when making decisions about abortion.’ Discuss.

a) Explain how a follower of Kant would approach the issues surrounding the right to a child.
b) ‘The right to a child is an absolute right.’ Discuss.

June 2008:
Q5 a) Explain the strengths of Kant’s theory of ethics.
b) How useful is Kant’s ethical theory in making decisions about euthanasia?

Jan 2009 (new spec)
a) Explain, with examples, Kant’s theory of the Categorical Imperative. (25)
b) “Kant’s ethical theory has no serious weaknesses.” Discuss (10) (Paper G572 Q4)

June 2009 (new spec)
a) Explain the strengths of Kant’s theory of ethics. (25)
b) “Kant’s theory of ethics is not a useful approach to abortion.” Discuss. (10) (G572 Q4)

June 2010 (new spec)
a) Explain how a follower of Kantian ethics might approach the issues surrounding the right to a child. (25)
b) “The right to a child is an absolute right.” Discuss. (10) (G572 Q3)
Mark scheme http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/ms_10/ocr_56275_ms_10_gce_g572.pdf  Examiner’s report http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/rep_11/ocr_61077_rep_11_gce_june.pdf

Jan 2011 (new spec)
a) Explain Kant’s argument for using the categorical imperative. (25)
b) “The universalisation of maxims by Kant cannot be defended”. (10) (G572 Q2)
Mark scheme http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/ms_11/ocr_62151_ms_11_gce_g572.pdf

June 2011 (new spec)
a) Explain the differences between the Hypothetical and Categorical imperatives. (25)
b) How useful is Kant’s theory when considering embryo research? (10) G572 Q4

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