Situation Ethics

All you need to know about situation ethics!

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  • Situation Ethics
    • Context
      • Social
        • socially shifting moral zeitgeist
          • hippie movement/ liberality
          • divorce/ abortion laws relaxed
      • Intellectual
        • 'Death of God' movement in Anglican Church
          • rejection of a transcendent God
          • emphasis on Jesus as the emobodiment of love
          • "assertions about God are assertions about love" - Robinson
    • Agape
      • impartial, non-directed, charitable love for all humanity
        • "put aside rules if love is better served" - Fletcher
    • Assumptions
      • Positivism
        • love is given first place in all actions
      • Pragmatism
        • must achieve a realistic good
      • Relativism
        • no fixed laws
      • Personalism
        • people above rules
          • asserts the importance of human freedom
    • Principles
      • love is the only absolute
      • love and justice are the same
      • love seeks the best interests of others
      • love has no favourites
      • love is the final end
      • the loving thing to do is situational
        • no fixed laws
        • consequences cannot be accurately predicted
    • Examples
      • sacrificial adultery
        • Mrs. Bergmeier imprisoned in a Russian prison camp, must have a child to return to family
      • himself might his quietus make
        • treatment costs $40 every 3 days, insurance payout is $100,000
          • loving thing to do is die
      • too extreme - Barclay
        • must be extreme because in general, rules should be followed
    • Weaknesses
      • "there is a danger of selfishness creeping in under the banner of love" - Vardy
      • doesn't focus any other virtues
      • "it is far from easy in some situations to decide what love requires" - Vardy
      • rejects power of God's grace and collective wisdom of the Church
        • Pope Pius XII
      • some situations are simply tragic - Hursthouse
    • "the only ethical theory for a man come of age" - Robinson
      • midway between anti nomianism and legalism
    • Biblical examples
      • "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath"
      • Jesus taught that love was the most important commandment


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