Situation Ethics

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  • Situation Ethics
    • Joseph Fletcher
      • 4 Working Principles
        • 3. Positivism = Puts faith before reason
        • 1. Pragmatism = Has to work in daily life; has to be practical
        • 2. Relativism= Has no fixed rules
        • 4. Personalism = People should be the centre of the theory
      • 6 Fundamental Principles
        • 1. Love is the only absolute
    • Based on the Christian idea of agape  love
      • But can easily be applied in a non-religious way.
      • The radical obligation of the Christian ethic to love even the enemy.
        • To do the most loving thing for anyone even if you don't like them
    • Fletcher rejected  legalism and antinomianism and said that we need to find a balance between the two.
      • The highest good is human welfare and happiness (but not, necessarily, pleasure)
    • Moral judgments are decisions, not conclusions
      • Decisions ought to be made situationally, not prescriptively
        • Its the end that justifies the means
    • Pro's
      • Because moral decisions are treated on a case-by-case basis, the decision is always tailored to particular situations.
      • Situation ethics teaches that right acts are those motivated by the wish to promote the well-being of people.
      • Situation Ethics does not reject laws but sees them as useful tools which are not absolutely binding.
    • Con's
      • It excludes most universal moral truths
      • its subjective; different people have different ideas of what's the most loving thing to do in a situation
      • It may approve of 'evil' acts
      • people are biased to their loved ones
  • 4. Love wants the good for anyone, whoever they are
    • 5. Only the end justifies the means
      • 6. Love is acted out situationally not prescriptivally
    • 3. Justice is love distributed


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