Situation Ethics revision notes

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What is Situation Ethics?
Situation ethics is subjective, individualistic and is prepared to accept
any action at all if it fits the required criteria.
States you must act, no matter what the situation, out of love
In situation ethicseverything is relative and dependant on the
circumstances that the individual has to face. It is the consequences of
an action which will determine which action is right or wrong situation
ethics denies absolutes.
Who discovered Situation Ethics?
Situation Ethics was developed by Joseph Fletcher an Anglican
Theologian from America
Main exponent
Fletcher wrote "Situation Ethics, the New Morality" in 1963
"There are times when a man has to push his principles aside and do the right thing"
He teaches that we are to love people, NOT LAW. William temple,
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
No absolutes because everything is relative and dependant on
circumstances. He also believes that each situation has the potential
to bring about exceptions to the rule.
He claimed that there are only 3possible approaches to ethics:

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So, what is the love that Fletcher talks about?
Single moral principle do whatever is the most loving thing
Fletcher did not talk about Eros (Passionate), Philia (Friendship) or Storge
(Family) but AGAPE LOVE
What is Agape love?
Agape love is Christian Love.
It seeks for the greatest good for others
God believes in agape love. We know this as in the New Testament Jesus said
"Love your enemy.…read more

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Fundamental Principles.
1. Only one thing is intrinsically goodthat is love (Agape) and nothing else.
Actions are good if they help people. What may be right in one case could be wrong
in another
E.g. stealing a gun from a man who intended to use it to murder his wife.
2. The ruling norm of Christian decision making is love (AGAPE) and nothing
No acts are intrinsically wrong, even the 10 commandments are not absolutes. Love
and justice are the same.…read more

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Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths Weaknesses
Every situation is different and requires Provides too much freedom. Some
thought. people want security of knowing what is
right and wrong. They may want law and
not responsibility of decision making.
Unrealistic to follow moral rules all the We do not live in an ideal world where
time. Rules are too restrictive and cannot everyone is perfect and everyone is
always be followed. motivated by love and would chose the
most loving thing to do.…read more

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Christians see this as
adultery…read more


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