situation ethics

Fletchers 6 propostiions and four presumptions

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  • Created by: Elly
  • Created on: 15-05-10 19:22

Fletcher's 6 propositions

1."Only one thing is intrinsically good: namely love, nothing else at all".

- only love is good in and of itself.

- Actions aren’t intrinsically good or evil.

- They are good or evil depending upon whether they promote the most loving result.

-They are extrinsically good depending on their circumstances and consequences.

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2. "The ruling norm of Christian decision is love; nothing else".

- Jesus replaces the Torah with the principle of love.

- Take, for example, his decision to heal on the Sabbath day, rejecting obligations of the Sabbath observance.

-The commandments are not absolute. Jesus broke them when love demanded it.

- Love replaces law. It isn’t equalled by any other law.

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3. " Love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed nothing else".

- Love and justice can’t be separated from each other.

Fletcher writes, “Justice is Christian love using its head, calculating its duties, obligations, resources... Justice is love coping with situations where distribution is called for”. (Fletcher, 1963, p95).

- Justice is love at work in the whole community, for the whole community.

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4. "Love wills the neighbour's good whether we like him or not".

- The love that Fletcher is concerned about isn’t a matter of feeling, but of attitude of the will towards the other person.

- It isn’t sentimental or ******, but rather, a desire for the good of the other person. This is the New Testament agape love.

- Your neighbour is anybody and agape love goes out to everyone; not just those we like but those we don’t like as well.

- Agape love is unconditional; nothing is required in return.

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5. "Only the end justifies the means; nothing else".

- Actions require a moral status as a means to an end

- The end must be the most loving result

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6. "Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively".

- Whether something is right or wrong depends on the situation

- If the action brings about the most loving thing then it's right

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Fletcher's 4 presumptions... Pragmatism


- The proposed cause of action must work, it must work towards the end which is love.

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- There are no moral absolutes

- "The situationalists avoids the words like never and perfect and always and complete as he avoids the plague" - Fletcher

- There are no fixed rules that must be obeyed

- Decisions must be relative to Christian love

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- Demands that humans come 1st and are not treated as means

- "There are no values in the sense of inherent goods -value is what happens to something when it happens to be used to love working of persons"

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- Moral commands must have a chance of a successful end

- natural P reason deduces faith from human experience or natural phenomena.

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