Situation Ethics - a break down

Simple document outlining the four working principles, six fundamental principles and strengths & weaknesses of Situation Ethics

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  • Created on: 13-01-13 12:52
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Situation Ethics
Coined by Joseph Fletcher 1966
Consequentialist, teleological, relativistic
o Boss principle = agape love
o Agape love must be the boss principle in all decision making.
o Legalistic Approach
o a set of rules abided by in every situation e.g. Jewish Torah
o "Thou Shalt not Kill" ­ killing is always wrong
o Fletcher rejects this approach because it puts principles before people.
o Antinomian Approach
o Direct opposite to legalism
o No fixed rules or laws
o Fletcher rejects this approach because there would be moral chaos and a
breakdown of society with no laws.
o Situational Approach
o What's right in one situation may be wrong in another
o You can never know in advance of a situation what you must do
o Fletcher ­ love absolutely selflessly.
4 Working Principles
1. Pragmatism ­ situation ethics must work. As long as agape love is produced, it
doesn't matter what we do.
2. Relativism ­ you never know in advance of a situation what to do. Relativistic
theory ­ agape love is relative to each situation.
3. Positivism ­ situation ethics tells you to `act in faith'. Tells you that you should
use agape love rather than not do something. i.e. `thou shalt not kill."
4. Personalism ­ people before principles always.
6 Fundamental Principles
1. Nothing is good except agape love.
nothing is intrinsically right except agape love. It is right in itself, nothing makes it right it just
2. The ruling norm of Christian decision making is love.
Jesus & Paul replaced Jewish law with single law of agape love. Love ­ replaced law.

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Love and justice are the same.
justice is love distributed. Justice ­ most loving thing in any situation. If you love agapaeically
you'll act justly.
4. Love wills your neighbour good always.
Agape ­ will not feelings. You must love your neighbours even when you don't like them.
Agape love ­ not sentimental.
5. Only the end justifies the means.
situation ethics ­ consequentialist. Outcome = production of agape love. Doesn't matter what
you do.
6. Love's decisions are made situationally not prescriptively.…read more


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