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Flashcards in Situation ethics Deck (8)
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Situation Ethics - Introduction

Largely teleological ethical system based on the writings of Joseph Fletcher in his book 'situation ethics', published in 1966


Situation Ethics - Fletcher's three approaches to moral thinking

1. Legalistic - based on fixed laws
2. Antinomian - have no laws at all
3. Situational - looking at the context of the moral problem and adopting the law of doing the most loving thing in that situation
>Fletcher thought that the third approach provided the best middle ground
>Influenced by other theologians such as Barth, Bonhoeffer and Bultmann


Situation Ethics - Agape love

>Agape love should be at the centre of ethics
>Christian love which is unconditional and reflects the love of God
>Demands that people love their neighbours and also enemies
>'Law of love' should guide moral decision making


Situation Ethics - Fletcher's six propositions

1. The only thing which is intrinsically good is agapeic love
2. Love is the ruling norm of Christian ethics
3. Justice is love distributed
4. Love does not depend on emotional likes and dislikes
5. Love should be the goal of moral action
6. Love should be considered in the context of each situation


Situation Ethics - Four working principles

1. Pragmatism - practicality in the real world
2. Relativism - rules are not to be seen as fixed and absolute
3. Personalism - people matter more than laws
4. Conscience - conscience is not seen as a reliable set of internal rules but as activity


Situation Ethics - Fletcher's understanding of conscience

>Doesn't guide human action
>Not a store of reliable rules to which people can refer
>Not a kind of inner voice with access to divine truth
>It's a verb, not a noun
>Describes what people do when they are trying to make moral decisions and are weighing things up


Situation Ethics - Possible strengths

>Reletavist - allows for consideration of individual circumstances
>Does not have problems of being an outdated ethic
>Could be considered quick and easy as a method of decision making
>Allows autonomy
>Could fit well with a person's Christian faith


Situation Ethics - Possible weaknesses

>Relativist - doesn't give clear rules
>Can be difficult to apply because most loving thing is not always clear
>Not always clear how to work out which people should be considered in the efforts to find a loving action
>Relativist - could be seen to allow people to justify any action