Situation Ethics

This is an Essay plan type focusing on two main questions. It has all the key ideas of Situation Ethics aswell as criticisms too.

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  • Situation Ethics Essay Plan
    • Question 1 Identify the Key features of Situation Ethics
      • Paragraph 1
        • Teleological and Christian Theory
        • Developed during the 1960's. Changes were taking place in society such as; religious beliefs, breaking away from the church, invention of contraceptive pill, sexual revolution, free love. At this point Joseph Fletcher believed that a new ethical system was needed for Christians, therefore Situation Ethics was established.
      • Paragraph 2
        • During 1960's, Robinson wrote book 'Honest to God' challenged ideas of Christianity and God. suggested 'man had come of age'.
        • Over the years, man has grown n intelligence and knowledge. We should make our own decisions about God.
        • William Barclay suggested that love is 'unconquerable good will'.
        • Situation Ethics is the seach for the most amount of Agape love. Agape love is not like phelia love or Eros love, it is uconditional, sacrificial love.
        • Agape love is what God has for humans. This love is highlighted in New Testament. Jesus self-giving death for humans.
          • 'Good Samaritan' in Luke 10. Shows Agape Love
        • Paul Tillich declared that 'love is the ultimate law'
        • Fletcher says hat Agape love is the highest good and Situation Ethicists should show Agape love just like Jesus did.
      • Paragraph 3
        • 3 approaches to morality. Antinomianism, Situationism, Legalism
        • Legalism = focuses on particular laws and rules. Importance of rules and strict enforcement. Fletcher rejects this because it 'becomes a web sooner or later that chokes people'
        • Antinomianism = No guiding principles, no rules 'one must rely upon the situation of itself'. It's spontaneous and unpredictable. Fletcher rejects this.
        • Situaionism = Fletcher believes is the best because we have rules and morals as guidance ad they should be followed or rejected depending if love seems better served doing so.
      • Paragraph 4
        • Four Working Principles:
          • Pragmatism = course of action must be practical and work. Bonhoeffer a 'success posture'
          • Positivism = love is the highest good and you should make a decision in a positive light and work towards a positive outcome e.g. 'love our neighbour'
          • Relativism = Rules don't always apply. Situationists avoid words like 'never', 'always' and 'complete'. Absolutes become relative to love.
          • Personalism = Situation Ethics puts people first. People are more important than rules. 'Man was not made for the Sabbath'
      • Paragraph 5
        • 6 Fundamental Principles
          • 1. Love only is always good. Love is intrinsically valuable. 'only one thing is intrinsically good; namely, love: nothing else at all'
          • 2. Love is the only norm (rule). Love replaces the law. Jesus: 'love God' 'love your neighbour'.
          • 3. Love and Justice are the same. 'Justice is love disturbed, nothing else.'
          • 4. 'Love wills the neighbours good whether we like him or not'. MLK described Agape love as 'creative and a goodwill to all men'.
          • 5. love justifies the means. 'Only the end justifies the means; nothing else,'
          • 6. 'Loved decisions are made situationally not prospectively. Decisions should be made at the time and not from predetermined rules.
    • Question 2 Examine the view that the strengths outweigh the weaknesses of the theory
      • Paragraph 1
        • SE has significant strengths but I would not agree that these strengths outweigh the weaknesses of the theory.
        • A strength of this theory is that it caters for every individual situation and takes into account personal relationships with others.
          • However, the search for the most amount of love can be misguiding. Distort a person's judgment which may result in them committing immoral acts.
        • Pope Pius XII describes SE as 'individualistic' and 'subjective'. SE is 'in opposition to the natural law or God's revealed will'.
        • Fletcher advocates stealing, divorce and adultery - not what the bible says.
        • Fletcher is contradicting Gods word. Pope Pius XII says hat because the theory is individualistic it cannot e used because judgements will always be subjective by own personal feelings and attitudes. Only God can make the true moral decisions. Never get a clear, objective view, only God can and therefore only God can be a Situation Ethicist.
      • Paragraph 2
        • On the other hand, key strengths such as; its based on the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught good morals and Jesus 'abolished the law with its commandments and legal claims'
        • However, predicting the consequences is very difficult. What looks like the most loving thing to do now may not be in the future. Crimes like murder and **** acceptable if the most loving outcome is reached? Sadistic guards example.
      • Paragraph 3
        • The principle of Pragmatism is worth nothing. If principles do fail to result in the most loving outcome, then it does seem reasonable to adopt a 'success posture' and abandon them.
        • William Barclay = law letting us down is rare. Fletchers examples are very very extreme dilemas that we wouldn't face on a day to day basis. Whats the point in this system is these situations are so unlikely to occur?
        • Hoose = propsed theidea of proportionalism that allows for breaking laws as and when they benefit of doing so is proportionally greater than following them.
      • Paragraph 4
        • SE is positive in many spects ad has significant strengths, however the weaknesses make the system unreliable and they defiantly outweight the strengths.


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