Situation Ethics Flashcards
What is the maxim of situation ethics?
- the key is to act out of selfless love (agape) in any given situation.
- the intention is key, not the consequence
- there is nothing that is universally right or wrong. You van have your principles, but there are times where you have to put your principles aside and do the right thing.
Who developed the theory of situation ethics?
- Joseph Fletcher (situation ethics 1966) and J A T Robinson (honest to God 1963)
- later discussed by William Barclay in a series of Baird lectures.
What was the social context in which situation ethics developed?
- response to the decline of utilitarianism.
- objections to moral absolutism. The intention should be key, not the result.
- Robinson’s book “Honest to God” started the controversial Church of England “sea of faith” movement, which had a collection of anti-realist followers, who believed God only exists for those who believe in him.
What are the four types of love?
- eros passion
- philia friendly love
- storge familial love
- agape selfless love
Why is agape the only type of love that can be used for moral decision making?
- in eros, there is always sex, desire involves the self, and can influence a moral decision.
- philia has a physical relationship, with loyalty and companionship, meaning you may feel obligated to act in someone’s favour.
- storge is the parent-child relationship, there is a bond there that draws one to protect the other in this relationship.
- agape is a selfless love, meaning that the self is never involved, the only thought is for what the most loving action is. It is the determination to always act in the way that is in favour of other people’s highest good.
What points in the Bible demonstrate situationalist thinking?
- “love thy neighbour”
- “God is love” John 4:16
- Matthew 12:1-4 Jesus and the disciples are walking, disciples get hungry in the field and eat the corn, farmer says they are breaking the sabbath, Jesus says “Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests?”
What examples are used in William Barclay’s Baird lectures?
- mothers on the Wilderness trail hiding from the natives. Being followed, baby was crying, mother didn’t strangle baby and they were found. Other mother strangled her baby so it wouldn’t give them away and they survived.
- taxi driver in election, have to put principles aside and do the right thing
What are Fletcher’s basic principles?
- we should always act in the most loving way
- love and justice are the same thing
How does Fletcher argue that love and justice are the same thing?
- love is the one absolute.
- justice is the way that love is acted out in the world. it settles how love is applied to each person.
What are the criticisms of justice and love being synonymous?
- Christianity teaches love, Judaism teaches justice, they are two very different things, love has connotations of being kind and nice to everyone, justice is about giving every person what they are due