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Hugo Clay Philosophy Division
The 6 Propositions of Situation Ethics
1. Only one this is intrinsically good: namely love, nothing else at all.
Love alone when well served is always good and right in every situation! Love is the only
universal. What is right in one case may be wrong in another stealing a gun from a
somebody who is about to kill someone/somebody is right, but stealing in most other
situations is wrong. No act is "right in itself" it all depends on the circumstance in which the
act is done. Love decides which actions are good and which are bad. This is because there are
always exceptions as value is extrinsic.
But love is not something we have or are but some we DO. Whatever is loving in any
particular situation is good.
Natural Law holds that suicide and lying are always wrong regardless of the circumstance,
even though loving concern may be the motive.
To conclude, "Whatever is the most loving thing in the situation is the right an good thing".
2. The ruling norm of Christian decision is love; nothing else.
Agape is a giving love, unconditional, neighbour (everybody) regarding. It seeks neighbours
best interest with a careful eyes to all factors in the situation. We serve law if law serves love
NOT serve love by serving law. E.G Jesus on Sabbath, "The Sabbath is made for man not man
for the Sabbath."
Situation ethics has good reason to hold it as a duty to break the 10 commandments in
certain situations. Fletcher is against the stone hard view of by Christianity that killing his
wrong. He believes that immoral killing is wrong, because there are always exceptions.
Some Christians see law are something which can never be broken. However Paul says that
"For freedom Christ has set us free!" - he is referring to the Law. Freedom can be seen as a
danger because people want law not responsibility. Laws are comforting whereas decision
making is tough.
Law puts a limit on love's obligations. Love sets no calculated limits on obligation; it seeks the
most good possible in each and every situation. Situation ethics aims to widen freedom and
responsibility because it believes human beings can cope with this.
3. Love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed nothing else.
It is thought that Love and Justice are the same. Justice is working out the loving thing to do
taking the interests of all those in the community into account. Justice is love coping with
situations where distribution is called for.
It is clear that in can be compared to utilitarianism, for the pleasure principle simply changes
to the principle of agape. For example, if we take the anointing of Jesus by the woman at
Bethany at face-value, "Jesus was wrong and the disciples were right." Jesus only saw the
"neighbour" in front of him but the disciples saw that love must work in coalation with
utilitarianism distribution. When calculating the morality of an action we ought to spread
loving consequences to as many as possible.
4. Love wills the neighbour's good whether we like him or not
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Hugo Clay Philosophy Division
Christian love is called agape love. It's a matter of attitude not feeling. It is not erotic love,
but it desires the good of the other, not one's own good. Jesus says "Love your neighbour in
the way our ought to love yourself... for God's sake and your own sake." We must love our
enemies. Christian love is practical.…read more