Situation ethics

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  • Situation ethics
    • Intro
      • based on Jesus' gosp teach or agape - love
      • involves doing what is best for other person uncond in sit
      • relativist theory - diff value systems -  set rules to foll
      • Consequentalist theory - is interested in end res of actions
      • with this eth sys, nothing can be declared as 'wrong'/ 'bad'
        • action may be justified if seen as most loving act in sit
          • Protestants  impressed
      • based on J's golden rule
        • "Do to others as you would have done to you"
          • means we should do what best serves love
    • 1st para
      • devel by Fletcher (1905-1991)
        • American professor - founded sit eth in 1963- whilst sexual rev, cold war, black civ rights etc
        • priest - later renouced faith & belief in God - became atheist
        • bel mor ?thing to do = most loving
        • "The situationist follows a moral law or violates it according to love's need"
        • appealed to Rudolf Bultmann
          • according to whom J taught no ethics other than
            • "Love thy neighbour"
        • distinguished sit eth from legalism & antinomianism
          • leg- set of mor rules - we should all follow
            • fletcher critical of this
              • ? bel that life's complexities req add laws e.g. murder in self-defence
              • thought system became complex - have to check what is ?/ x in every sit
          • ant - opp of leg - no eth system - 'against law'
            • Fletcher critical
              • spontaneous mor dec
                • "are, exactly anarchic - i.e. without a rule"
                  • means  lead to most loving act in sit
      • J demonstrated the greatest love to us -in laying down his life for our sins
        • "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13)
    • 2nd para
      • fetcher states - 4 'working principles'
        • 1) pragmatism - mor act msut work/ achieve some realistic goal
          • e.g. conjoined twins -better to save one than let both die - most loving
        • 2) relativism - no fixed rules/ laws which must always be obeyed
          • e.g. stealing is wrong, but if stealing for the hungry, be most loving
        • 3) positivism - 1st place is love, rooted in faith
        • 4) Personalism - people come first, not rules/ideals
      • 6 'fundamental principles'
        • ways to interpret agape
        • 1) 1 thing is intrinsically good, which is love
          • 1) a lie isnt always instinsically wrong
        • 2) the ruling norm of xian decision is love
          • 2) love is always best, which means it is the most loving choice in the sit
        • 3) love & justice are the same
          • 3) can be no love without justice
            • if love was propoerly shared out, there'd be no injustice
        • 4) love wills the neighbours good, whether we like him or not
          • 4) Xian love is non-selfish - best in a sit as most loving
        • 5) only the end justifies the mean, nothing else
          • 5) if an act causes harm, then it is wrong
        • 6) love's decisions are made sit, not prescriptively
          • you decide there and then the most loving act - means most loving dec will be made
      • these apply to sit eth ? they help make a decision about most loving thing to do in the sit
    • part B
      • 1st para
        • many :)
          • system is a xian one --> consistent with J's teachings
            • :) ? xians can follow approach even if it goes against biblical teachings
          • flexible relativist system
            • :) ? it enables people to make tough decisions in sit's
            • Untitled
          • system enables love (agape)
            • :) as surely everyone agrees that this is a good thing
          • avoids conflict of duty as one experiences in absolute systems
            • :) ? where moral rules collide, sit eth gives a way of resolving the conflict, by using love
      • 2nd para
        • many :(
          • xian system
            • athesits & people of other rels may not want to follow example of J - don't believe in him
          • unprincipled relativist system
            • :( as could allow for almost any action, such as murder if it is the most loving thing in the sit
          • 'love' is very subjective
            • :( as people will naturally disagree about what loving beh is
          • difficult to predict the future results of act
            • :( as making consequentialist decisions based on love in unreliable
      • Conc
        • I think most loving choice in every senario is best choice, as love is a fundamental basic for human life
          • without love and decisions based on it, the world wouldn't be a very loving place

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