Situation ethics

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  • Situation Ethics
    • The features of Situation Ethics
      • An ethical theory based on the single principle of love
      • Peopleshould entre every situation prepared to act in the most loving way.
      • The right thing to do in any given situation is the most loving thing to do.
    • Fletcher defined love in the following way
      • Agape Love: God's love for humanity.
      • It is always good.
      • Love and jusitce are the same, for love is justice distributed.
      • It makes a decision which is unique to each individual situation.
      • You shall love your neighbour as yourself." Luke 10:27
    • 4 working principles
      • Personalism: People should always be put first
      • Relativism: "The situationist avoids words like 'never' and 'perfect' and 'always' and 'completely' as he avoids the plague as he avoids 'absolutely'."
      • Positivism: Decisions should always be made using love as the most important consideration of all.
      • Pragmatism: A proposed course of action, done out of love, should be practical and work in real life. The action must also work towards the end which is love.
    • What is situation ethics?
      • A relativistic theory: It has not absolute moral rules that have to be followed in every circumstance.
      • A telelogical theory: Claiming that moral truth can be found through nature and purpose.
      • A consequentialist theory: Where the end result is held to be of great importance.
      • Joseph Fletcher: Ethical theories should be flexible enough to deal with varying circumstances. "For the situation there are no rules-none at all."
    • 6 fundamental principles
      • "Only one thing is intrinsically good; namely love."
      • "Love and jusitce are the same, for justice is love distributed."
      • "Love wills the neighbour's good, whether we like him or not." Show agape, unconditional love.
      • "The ruling norm of Christian decision making, is love: nothing else." Jesus broke the rules when it best served love.d
      • Only the end justifies the means."
      • "Love's decisions are made situationally not prescriptively."
    • Strengths and weaknesses
      • Strengths
        • It enables people to respond emotionally and/or rationally to the situation, rather than acting according to rules.
        • It gives people the freedom to act according to the circumstances
        • It is based on love.
        • It is easy to understand.
        • Love always seks the well-being of others.
      • Weaknesses
        • It depends too much on an individual's viewpoint.
        • The absolute law of love is still a law.
        • The theory could always justify the suffering of others?
        • It breaks down the complex moral situation into individual moral decisions. This may not be the best way to resolve the problem
        • Are only short-term consequences considered? How do we guess long-term consequences?
        • It is ambiguous - no two people may agree on what the most loving thing to do actually is.
        • It may not be possible to accurately guess the consequence.
        • How do we measure love?


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