7 Tips for data response questions

I have been asked to share some of my tips for writing data response economic questions. I hope this helps! 🙂

1) Know how many mark question they are e.g. I know in my Jan exam for the Data response there are 4 question and the marks they hold (4, 12,  8 and 16 marks)

2) Know how the marks are split e.g. in unit three except for the 4 mark one they tend to be 50% analysis and 50% evaluation.

3) Know how to split that further so if evaluation is worth 6 marks know that you can discuss two factors worth 3 marks each or 3 factors worth 2 marks each.

4) Once you know this all you need to do is write down you points whether analysis or evaluation to marks you allocated above.

5) It is good to know this structure off by heart, memorise it and use it for planning big questions in exams

6) In terms of analysis, you are defining key terms, applying economic theories such as theory of PED to the question and drawing diagrams.

7) In evaluation all you are doing is saying whether this is different in the long-run, is this an actual realistic thing, other factors that affect what you said in evaluation, ceteris paribus (is it assumed that all factors are equal), prioritising and justifying points, if for example you are talking at tax or subsidy then you can discuss that it depends on the size of the tax for the effects to happen etc.

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Kantian Ethics: Strength & Weaknesses

I have recently updated this table so not all strengths and weaknesses are discussed in the above video.

Strengths

Weaknesses

1. Creates a distinction between duty and inclination. Inclination is may be because something benefits us but morality is something above that it is about duty.

1. No rules if two duties conflict e.g. our duty to make other happy and our duty not use an embryo for genetic research even though genetic research makes people happy. Strangely Kant would argue in this situation one duty must not be a true duty. Furthermore, it can impractical in terms of trying to fufil all duties e.g. the duty to care for all patients equally in a hospital faced with a fixed budget.

2. Makes justice impartial because you cannot promote happiness if that happiness undermines another happiness. This is also a criticism of utilitarianism.

2. Personalised rules can not exist as they cannot be universalised. (Could also be a strength)

3. Humans are given intrinsic worth, dignity and respect. Demonstrates that humans have rights.

3. No allowance for compassion or sympathy.

4. We are equal individuals unlike some forms of Christian ethics which suggests that if you do not follow the Lord Jesus Christ you are not equal to other people.

4. What is more important consequences and people or actions? e.g.. man with axe example.

5. Easy to follow with a clear criteria because it is based on innate human reason. More importantly gives us answers which arguably other theories like Situation Ethics do not.

5. Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative can be difficult to use in terms of world politics. For example, we cannot scarifice the few at war for the sake of many.

6. People generally do have the same idea about morality.

6. Kant’s deontological theory of ethics is in fact vague. The reason being no two moral situations are the same hence can one maxim fill both situations. No. Is murder the same as self-defence, suicide, abortion?

7. People recognise the idea of duty as a part of being human.

7. The theory only works if everyone agrees with it which is clearly not true. For Natural Law or Virtue Theory to work one doesn’t need everyone to work.

8. It is wholly secular which means it does not rely on the assumption that there is a God unlike Natural Law which if the existence of God is rejected then so is Natural Law.

8. It commits a Naturalistic Fallacy according to G.E.Moore. One cannot derive an ought from an is i.e. can ought really imply can?

9. Is it really universal can everyone really be classified a rational moral agent?

10. Kant argues that happiness is the by-product of morality not the intention behind it – is this suggestion really logical – why would you follow it then?

11. Not everyone is capable of ration decision-making hence theory is not universal.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism Bentham – Act Utilitarianism Mill – Rule Utilitarianism
Strengths (Bentham 2 – 5 taken from Wiki answers ) 1. Easy to use – clear criteria and offers a systematic approach to ethics.

2. Utilitarianism cannot be faulted on its morals as it clearly seeks the happiness and fairness for the largest number of people, which has always been an important consideration in the works of government and other major powers, as well as in everyone’s everyday life.

3. Designed for global politics unlike Kantian ethics.
Also, it considers the consequences of all actions, which is key in building a civilized society. If people were not aware of consequences then there would be no deterrent to commit crime.

4. Also, it encourages a democratic approach to decision making, and minorities are not allowed to dominate.

5. It does not rely on any controversial or unverifiable theological or metaphysical claims or principals, so it is accessible to everyone.

1. Mill considers emotions a form of higher pleasure which is a strength because it can make the theory a little less impartial and allow more room for emotions. In the house on fire example (Bentham Weakness 3) Mill could possibly allow you to save your mother arguing  your emotions are a higher pleasure and since he gives no explanation of what to do if pleasures clash we could justice the saving of the mother.

2. Mill’s idea of creating generalized rules makes the theory more objective and provides us a means to creating universal rules.

Weaknesses 1. Difficult to predict consequences e.g. if you plan to hit someone you might predict that they will be upset because 99.9% of the time this is the result however, what if the person turns out to enjoy it and get pleasure out of pain – all you consequences are wrong!

2.Utilitarianism is a demanding theory as something as simple as buying an ice-cream can be deemed immoral because you know that the money could be spent elsewhere in order to get the greatest good for the greatest number.

3. Some critics argue it is too impartial – if a house was on fire and you could only save your mother or the world’s best sergeant you would according to the PoU (principle of utility) have to save the sergeant. No room for emotions. John Rawls advocates this criticisms pointing out that it could support a more dictatorial society just because it produces the greatest amount of pleasure.

4.Utilitarianism is subjective – what is moral for one person isn’t the same for another implying that no such universal law system can exist.

5. Utilitarianism implies that everyone has a moral faculty (awareness that gives us a sense of moral judgement) and not everyone has this young kids, disables persons etc. This alienates people from the theory.

6.Bentham and Mill both commit a naturalistic fallacy according to G.E.Moore, just because something is desirable and produces a lot of pleasure does not imply that we ought to pursue that action.

1. Difficult to predict consequences e.g. if you plan to hit someone you might predict that they will be upset because 99.9% of the time this is the result however, what if the person turns out to enjoy it and get pleasure out of pain – all you consequences are wrong!

2. Utilitarianism is a demanding theory as something as simple as buying an ice-cream can be deemed immoral because you know that the money could be spent elsewhere in order to get the greatest good for the greatest number.

3. Utilitarianism implies that everyone has a moral faculty (awareness that gives us a sense of moral judgement) and not everyone has this young kids, disables persons etc. This alienates people from the theory.

4. Mill makes several elitist claims e.g. for example it is better to a dis-satisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig (comparing not so intelligent people to pigs), claiming that the higher your moral faculty the more difficult to find pleasure (as not so intelligent people are satisfied with almost anything). Yet what Mill fails to acknowledge is if through utilitarian values a pig can be satisfied then this devalues the intellectual ability of all humans.

5. Mill uses non-utilitarian values such as justice (supreme moral good) and from this we can infer that there are more important things than happiness and this inference destroys the foundation of utilitarianism.

6. As mentioned previously, Mill does not discuss what happens if rules/higher pleasure conflict. Adding to the ambiguous nature of utilitarianism.

7. Furthermore, given that the rules are generalized and formulated through experience this means that they are not absolute and can be broken. But it is difficult to see how one would know when an exception could be added and if we keeping using exceptions and don’t make Mill’s utilitarianism rigid then this some scholars imply collapse it back to act utilitarianism. E.g. the rule tell the truth unless a lie produces more pleasure isn’t that essentially Bentham’s form.

8. No two moral situations are exactly the same so how can rules based on past different (Albeit similar) circumstances helps us with new situations?

9. Moreover, Mill argues that a competent judge would always pick higher pleasures over lower pleasures yet this is not true for all circumstances e.g. if Mill was somehow stranded in a desert he would not pursuit poetry or imagination he would pursue drinking water – which is a lower pleasure- doesn’t this mean he has an infirmity of the mind?

10. Bentham and Mill both commit a naturalistic fallacy according to G.E.Moore, just because something is desirable and produces a lot of pleasure does not imply that we ought to pursue that action.

Deontological and Teleological Ethics

Deontology and Teleology are two specialist terms used to separate ethical theories. They difference between deontology and teleology, is in essence, the same as the difference between absolutist and relativist theories.

Deontology: This means the same as absolute. The ethical systems are based on some form of a rule system. Following a deontological system such as Kant, Natural Law or some forms of Christian ethics means that the moral thing to do is one that does not change from situation to situation. For example, according to Kantian ethics it will always be wrong to lie even if it saves someone’s life. This is because consequences are not taken into account and the universal law does not change.

Teleology: Teleological theories are the same as relativist theories. They state that the moral thing to do is one which will change from situation to situation because the consequence of an action is sovereign. Ethical systems like Utilitarianism and Situation ethics voice this belief. They suggest that lying can only be moral if it results in the most pleasure for the most people (Act Utilitarianism) or the most love towards the most people (Situation Ethics).

Below is a video outlining this and some key strengths and weaknesses:

Kantian Ethics

Kantian Ethics is summarised in the video tutorial below:

 

 

The strengths & weaknesses of the theory can be summarised as follows:

Strengths and weaknesses to Kant’s deontological theory of ethics

Strengths
  1. The clear distinction between ‘emotions’ and ‘duty’ is important, it ensures that decisions are made out of something more than ‘urges of the moment’. For example, if you see someone hurt on the street, rather than acting just out of compassion, it is better to act of duty. This is gives something extra to the action taken.
  2. The theory can be applied to everyone, regardless of culture, race, religion etc.
  3. The appeal to innate human reason establishes a clear criteria for what constitutes a moral action. This makes it easier to deduce right actions to take.
  4. It respects human life without exception. Kant’s deontological of theory goes against suicide, abortion, murder etc. Even killing out of love is seen as unmoral.
  5. This respect in time demonstrates that human beings have rights e.g. they have a right to be told the truth.
  6. It is wholly secular which means it does not rely on the assumption that there is a God.
Weaknesses
  1. It works only if everyone agrees to it especially when fulfilling the maxim of Kingdom of Ends.
  2. There can be conflicts of duty e.g. we have a duty to protect human life as well as we have duty not to lie but what if lying is the only way to save someone’s life? Kant’s reply to this criticism is interesting, he says that there is no such thing as a conflict in duty we need to identify which one of the two is not a duty.
  3. Kant’s theory falls into making a naturalistic fallacy – can ‘ought’ really imply ‘can’ and if this fails so does Kant’s ethical system.
  4. Can we really say that the action itself is really more important than the consequences?
  5. Does this theory really apply to everyone – what if someone is not capable of rational decision- making like a baby or someone with a disability.
  6. There is not a mutual consensus between everyone tat ‘my duty in one situation is my duty in every situation’
  7. Can this theory really be used in real life e.g. to be moral does everyone really need to try and fulfill their potential or give others happiness, can they not just be happy in themselves without causing others harm.
  8. Is Kant correct in saying that happiness is a by-product of leading a moral life not the intention behind it.
  9. For Kant, ‘rationality’ is extremely important, but just following the above point is it really realistic for Kant to overlook ‘fellowship’ because emotions, concerns, hopes etc are not part of his moral equation. I mean after all we are mortals.
  10. Obviously, for some theist the fact that God is excluded from the moral exclusion is a definite negative.

Analogy

Evaluation of the use of analogy for ‘God-talk’

Strengths

1. Defects the problems raised by equivocal and univocal language

2. Shows religious language is not absurd and can provide some understanding of God.

3. It avoids anthropomorphism.

4. Hick argues that enables to make statements yet still preseve the mysterious element to the Judaeo-Christian God.

5. Affirm the nature of the deity to the believer as well as allowing the believer to believe they are in a purposeful relationship with the deity

Weaknesses

1. If we say John is bad is that also a refection of God’s attribute? How do we know which analogies are appropriate to God.

2. Duns Scotus argues that it is vague and leaves us unable to understand God and his actions.

3. Assumes similarity between humans and God which is difficult to accept if God is an external being which is completely different to humans.

4. In respect to the analogy of proportion, is it really possible to make comparisons between necessary and contingent beings, its like comparing apples and pears.

5. Why bother with religious language if God is mysterious? It is far too neat – is the believer just trying to have his cake and eat it.

6. Patrick Sherry points out the believers usually use religious claims literally not analogically.