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Strengths (Oliphant) Weaknesses
Situation ethics is easy to This method of decision-
understand and can be constantly making was condemned in
updated for new problems and issues
as they arise, such as genetic
1952 by Pope Pius XII, who
engineering and foetal research. said it was wrong to make
It is flexible and can take decisions based on individual
different situations into account, circumstances if these went
but it is based on the Christian against the teaching of the
concept of love. Church and the Bible.
It focuses on humans and concern
It is not possible to
for others ­ agape.
Situation ethics allows people to
determine the consequences
take responsibility for their own of actions ­ how do we know
decisions and make up their own that the result will be the
minds about what is right or wrong. most loving for all concerned?
Bishop John Robinson called it `an
ethic for humanity come of age'.…read more

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Strengths (Cole & Gray) Weaknesses
Persons are made more While individuals are in some
important than principles sense unique, there are still
(Mark 2:27 "The sabbath was universally applicable laws.
made for man, not man for the Situation Ethics turns on the
sabbath"). spontaneous but spontaneity
Morality is concerned primary can sometimes be misguided.
with duty based on a Spontaneity can turn out to be
restricted concept. rashness ­ the knee-jerk
Situations change (c.f. reaction that politicians are
Progressive Judaism's always accusing each other of.
attempts to apply the Torah Abandonment of all rules can
to the modern age, and lead to a state of moral flux ­
Orthodox Judaism's attempts rules play an important
to preserve the Law against sociological function.
modern relativism).…read more

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Strengths (Cole & Gray) Weaknesses
Situation Ethics makes the In most cases (situations of
important link between justice normality) moral rules work
nad love. Justice is the most perfectly well. It is when
that can be reasonably situations are extreme that
achieved (if justice is the the rules appear to fail.
treating of everyone However, ethical rules can
according to their needs) by a provide important guidance,
person who meets each even in these extreme
situation with a spirit of love situations.
(i.e. agape). Situation Ethics needs time
for deliberation if rashness
(see above) is to be avoided ­
time is not often a luxury that
is available in a time of ethical
crisis.…read more

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Can the decision to behave in the most loving way be
impeded by self-interest?
Where does a situation begin and end ­ what is the scope of
the moral decision? Situation Ethics cannot cope with the
large scale issues of social morality.
Does Fletcher not simply replace an old set of laws (e.g. the
Decalogue) with a new set (i.e. agape)? Judaism contends
that obeying the Decalogue is the way that a person behaves
We can legislate for justice ­ we cannot force people to
The end does not always justify the means.…read more


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