- Created by: an_kxkx
- Created on: 27-12-19 09:46
Fletcher disagreed with legalism because it;
- Has a set of moral rules and regulations
- Lacks compassion for challenges that people face
- Puts laws before people
- Leads to immorality by forcing people to obey laws even when it's clearly harmful
- Life's complexities require additional laws and guidence that legalism simply doesn't offer e.g. Do not murder, what about in self defence
- Both Judaism and Christianity have legalistics ethical traditions
Fletcher preferred this absolutist view to antinomianism due to its set structure and what seems like a stable foundation for morality
Fletcher disagreed with antinomianism because;
- Is random and arbitrary in its approach to moral situations
- It would lead to chaos and anarchy if used
- It doesn't protect vulnerable members of society
- Antinomianism is inconsistent and unprincipled, so one who uses this approach doesn't really use an ethical system at all
Fletcher said that;
"...they are exactly anarchic, without a rule"
He was very critical of this approach
Situation ethics 1
Fletcher describes this approach as "the middle-way between 2 extremes"
- situationism uses the single rule of agape, unconditional and universal love and concern for all
- he described agape not as a mere emotion that felt, but doing what's best for the other person unconditionally
Fletcher maintained that;
- Love should be the main goal of every moral action
- That society's laws should be stuck to, unless it's more loving to break them.
"a situationist follows a moral law or violates it according to love's need"
Situation ethics 2
Fletcher agreed with this approach because;
- It didn't discriminate against anyone in society as it was based upon a universal concept of love
- It showed compassion to all people equally
- It is a solid principle, unlike antinomianism
- it is flexible, showing love to people in different ways depending on their situation, unlike legalism
- It was consistent with Jesus' behaviour, so attractive to Christians
Fletcher said that;
"...legalists make an idol of sophia, antinomians repudate it, situationists use it"
Fletcher saw conscience as;
- "..function, not faculty" and a "verb not a noun"
- valuable in decision-making
- a process by which we respond to ethical issues
Fletcher rejected the 4 traditional views of conscience:
1. it's an in-built faculty intuition
2. it's an inspiration from the outside (holy-spirit)
3. an internalised value system of culture/society
4. reason-making moral judgement
He concluded by saying:
"... conscience is merely a word for our attempts to make decisions creatively, constructively and fittingly"
The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37
- the priest and the levite who walked past followed legalistic ethics
- the samaritan followed an agapeic type of love, unconditional concern for the levite
- Jesus told this story to show that legalism may be unconventional in its application
- here, Jesus elaborates clearly on the meaning of agape and the strategy in which we should love is outlined clearly
- Fletcher used this as the basis of situation ethics, his understanding of the word agape is derived from this parable
- This types of love is pure and it is unconditional regard for all of humanity with no expectations of repayment
The teachings of St Paul 1 Corinthians 13
- The Corinthians always used the excuse of speaking in tongues to be immoral
- This inspired Paul to write this stating that "...if i speak in tongues...but do not have love, I am nothing"
- This heavily impacted Fletcher as Paul targeted this letter to the legalistic Corinthians at the time who used their authority as an exuse to impose immoral laws on the people
- This also impacted other philosopher/ethicists such as Aquinas and Augustine.
Moral relativistic theory
Situation ethics can be classed as relativist because;
- it recognises no absolute universal moral laws or norms
- each situation is looked at on an individual level
- each individual person is unique
- it states that all decisions should be made in relation to the extent to which love in that case can be achieved
- it recognises that where it is harmful to the individual, or where love won't be achieved, the law can be abandoned, unlike the absolutist stance
Situationisim is consequentialist because;
- moral actions are assessed based upon their outcomes, it is focused on the results of an action
- so the goodness or badness of an action is based upon if the most love is achieved in the end
- if the result isn't the most loving, agapeic action, then the action would be considered wrong
- the decision making process applies conscience through agape, and in doing so looks toward prosepective application
It is a teleological argument because;
- it focuses upon the act's purpose/end goal, it is goal-focused
- situation ethics aims for love in its decision-making process, its goal is love
- situation ethics is concerned with the telos of any proposed action