Situation Ethics

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  • Situation Ethics
    • Paul Tillich
      • "The law of love is the ultimate law"
    • Joseph Fletcher
      • A christian until later life
      • "Justice is love distributed"
      • Founder of situation ethics
    • Agape
      • Selfless love
      • The only absolute
        • Perhaps to vague e.g. what is selfless love?
    • 4 working principles
      • Pragmatism
        • It has to have a working moral outcome and be practical e.g rather than both die save one
      • Positivism
        • Compared to reason-based ethical theories (Kantian and Natural Law) it has to start with the positive choice of wanting to do good
      • Relativism
        • You take absolute laws and apply them based on the situation "Relativize the absolute, it does not  absolutize the relative" meaning it's wrong to think anything goes, doing whatever the situation demands is not absolute
      • Personalism
        • People are put before laws, they are most important "man was not made for the Sabbath"
    • 6 Fundamental Propositions
      • Love is the only intrinsic good
      • The ruling norm of Christians is love
        • "All laws…are only contingent, only valid if they happen to serve love."
      • Love and justice are the same, justice is love using one's head
      • Love wills the neighbours good
      • Only the end justifies the means
        • Teleological
      • Love's decisions are situation based not prescriptive
    • John Dewey
      • "…reflective morality requires observation of particular situations rather than fixed adherence to a priori principles"
    • Criticisms
      • Deontological: the means matter,if only the end matters then terrible things may be allowed
        • The outcomes are also incalculable and too unpredictable how will we know what action will have the best consequences.
      • Morally Subjective: No moral norms. It is against the Christian idea that God gave us a specific way to act  morally and gave us a purpose
      • It is too individualistic, although agape is a nice ideal, some argue humans are intrinsically selfish . We need rules to live by.


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