Situation Ethics Revision Sheet

~ Nadia

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Situation Ethics
o 1960s
o Fletcher Anglican Priest
o Keen to create deeply Christian ethic at a time when traditional authority and ethics
were being rejected
o Rejected traditional attitudes/status quo
o Based on agape love (Jesus, St Paul)
o (Different to utilitarianism which was based on pleasure)
o No conflict of interest for Christians
o Emphasises Fletcher's want for a deeply Christian ethic
o Teleological
o Focuses on achieving goals through consequences of actions
o Easy to understand
o Love justifies means
o Fletcher gave the example of the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima where
the Committee set up by the US President "decided that the lives saved by ending the war
swiftly by using this weapon outweighed the lives destroyed by using it and thought that
the best course of action."
5) Four working principles and six fundamental principles
o Personalism: puts people before rules
o Positivism: Based on love "let us love one another because love is from God" (John)
o Relativism: Avoids absolutism by allowing individualised responses to contexts, thus
allowing for exceptions One example Fletcher gives is of a married woman in a prison
camp who has an affair and gets pregnant in order to get home to her family
o Pragmatism: suggests solutions that work
6) In between being legalistic (Set of prefabricated moral rules and regulations) and
antinomian (against law)
o Flexible
o Avoids legalism's prescriptiveness
1) Subjective//individualistic
Impossible to determine consequences of an action or what love demands
Agape love is relative
2) Opposes natural law and traditional Christian ethics arrogant?
3) Blurs distinction about what's morally good and what's morally right
4) Seems to accept any action at all if it fits the required criteria


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