Situation Ethics

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  • Situation Ethics
    • Fletcher and Agape
      • Key feature of agape-love. Testament: duty to love God.
      • "There is only one ultimate and invariable duty, it's formula is 'though shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'" Temple
      • Taxi Driver: 'Situation Ethics' he would vote Democrat in the elections. "There are times when a man has to push his principles aside and do the right thing".
    • Fletcher's moral thinking divided into three
      • 1) Legalistic, based on fixed laws.
      • 2) Antinomian, no laws at all.
      • 3) Situational, look at the context and do the most loving thing.
    • Three different approaches to ethics by Fletcher.
      • Legalism: over reliance on rules. Fletcher argues Natural Law is guilty due to excessive legalism.
      • Situationism: right approach between two extremes. Application.
      • Antinomianism: no laws. Freedom to act as however one wished.
    • Four working principles of situationism
      • 1) Pragmatism:  Fletcher wants a practical solution.
      • 2) Relativism: love is absolute, relative.
      • 3) Positivism: values through faith in God and positive reasoning. Create good.
      • 4) Personalism: humans moral value. Related to the good of people.
      • "Love is of people, by people and for people. Things are to be used; people are to be loved" Fletcher.
    • Fletchers Six Propositions
      • 1) Intrinsically good= agape love. Things good due to the loving outcome.
      • 2) Love is the ruling norm of Christian ethics.
      • 3) Justice is distributing love.
      • 4) Love doesn't depend on emotion and dislikes.
      • 5) Love is the goal of moral action.
    • Situation Ethics as a religious theory.
      • For: Fletcher says Jesus says 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'
      • For: Jesus rejected legalism. Moral principles given.
      • For: Jesus argues love is the primary evidence.
      • Against: Fletchers selected. Reading about adultery etc.
      • Against: Jesus tells disciples if they love him they wouldn't obey commandments- like love.
      • Against: agape of unconditional-similar to situation ethics.
    • Situation Ethics and the conscience
      • Fletcher's focus on conscience linked to religion.
      • Fletcher doesn't see conscience as a thing as possess.
      • Fletcher isn't conscience as an active process. Make moral decisions as a functions.
    • Advantages
      • Right that legalistic approaches aren't flexible.
      • Helps us answer when we have conflicting duties.
      • Good principle- do the most loving thing and avoid bias.
      • Person centered.
    • Disadvantages
      • Never and always avoided. No boundaries.
      • Concept of agape and application vague. What the most loving thing varies.
      • Mc Quarrie: situation ethics individualistic, difficult to see how it can be applied across society.
      • Difficult to see when a situation begins and ends. Chain of consequences aren't a loving outcome.
    • Going further: C.S. Lewis
      • C.S.Lewis said that there's four type of love: storage, Philip, eros and agape.
      • Lewis said agape was the greatest love. We can't practise agape love without God.


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