Situation Ethics

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Situation ethics- Joseph Fletcher

Situation ethics- Joseph Fletcher- "Love is the only thing that is intrinsically good"

  • Normative theroy- Tells us what we ought to do
  • Teleological- Aims to bring about the greater good
  • Consequentalist- An action is deemed "good" if it brings about good consequences
  • Relative- Goodness of actions depends on circumstances- No fixed moral principles
  • Aagapeistic- Unconditional love is the guiding principles
  • Does not prescribe fixed rules, considers the outcome of actions
  • Fletcher argued there are 3 approaches to ethics:

1. LEGALISTIC-Someone who follows absolute rules and laws- FLETCHER REJECTS= Leads to "Unthinking obediance" 

2. ANTINOMIAN- Some who rejects all rules- FLETCHER REJECTS= Leads to "Social chaos"

3. SITUATIONAL- FLETCHER ARGUES- Each individual situation is different, do the most loving thing, absolute rules- too demanding= "The morality of an action depends on situation"

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Situation ethics- Joseph Fletcher

  • 4 Working Principles:

1. PRAGMATISM- Moral actions must work to achieve some realistic goal

2. RELATIVISM- No fixed rules, every situation is looked at differently 

3. POSITIVISM- Start with a positive choice/ commitment, Free will to promote love

4. PERSONALISM- People should be helped first

  • 6 Fundamental principles 

1.Only love is good  2. Commandments not absolute 3. Love& justice are the same thing 4. Love is a desire for the good of an another person 5. Only the end justifies the means 6. Most loving thing= the right thing

Strengths- Christian teaching of Jesus (Good Samiratan), Flexible, Emphasis on agape, Enables rational / emotional responce, breeds respect for others, Moral responsibility, 

Weaknesses- Christian system (Athiests), Value for law (Willaim Barly), "Love" is too subjective, permissive-  approve of "evil acts" "We are in danger of falling into a tyranny of relativism"- Pope Benedict, Feature of a Postmodern society, judged by the norm of tolerance 

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