Ethics: Situatuion Ethics

Teleological Theory
any theory in which goodness or rightness is determined by the outcome.
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Situation Ethics
view coined by Joseph Fletcher that there is a single, absolute principle of love to be applied in each situation, to produce the best outcome. developed from Temple's situationalism
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Three moral approaches to moral life
Legalism, Antinomianism and Situationism
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believe that there are fixed moral rules that are universal and always to be followed. this approach to morality has been a major fault in Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism. leads to puritanism, giving the rule more dignity than the person.
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is the denial of the possibility of any rules. this can be found in the ideas of Nietzsche or Sartre, and some other extentialists, who believe that there are no rules to follow but only our own choices
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Situationism(Fletchers position)
the rule of love, but believes that it needs to be applied situationally
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The 4 working principles
Pragmatism, Relativism, Positivism and Personalism
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we must seek practical solutions wich work to achieve success. Fletcher makes explicit his debt to american pragmatism as presented by Pierce, Dewey and especially William James.
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Whatever we do must be related to both the facts about ourselves and what we are able to do and the particular facts of the situation. in this, he is situational; the absolute demand to do the loving things remain
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the belief in a God of love (or for non-christians- a higher good) is posited, then supported by logic. as we have this belief in the supremacy of love, we must then reason out what supports that love in the situations that face us
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requires that we place people, not principles or rules or things, at the centre of all our moral considerations.
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What's the difference between a christian and non christian view?
the difference is that a christian situationist clearly and directly equates the good with agape (altruistic love), while a non christian will find some other account, such as Aristotle's flourishing
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Agape and Altruism
Agape; greek word meaning love. adopted by early christians to refer to Jesus' sacrificial and caring love. Altruism: any theory which puts the needs of others before those of oneself.
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Fletcher on conscience
Fletcher argued that conscience is understood as a verb. by arguing this, it seems that all Fletcher means is that we should act 'conscientiously. This is very different from the usual view similar to Aquinas' voice of reason
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Objections- strictly teleological
Argued to suffer the same problems as Act Utili. the problem of determining outcomes, decison making time, processing necessary skills,m having all information and so on. Also can be manipulated
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Objections- Controversial statement
Fletcher stated that 'putting away' (hiding or killing) a downs child is ok because it is not a person. argued, where, if at all, do we drawthe line between person and non person. is there such thing as righteuos cruelty?
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Objections- Subjective
What if people do not know what love is? or have different meanings of love. some people might love killing, does this make it ok? people woth mental health may genuinely think they were doing the most loving thing when killing someone.
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Objections- Russel
Does right = good? can we ever truly be confident that we have done 'the right thing'? this kind of knowledge may be beyond us. Also, it is essential to recognise that in moral dilemmas, the discovery of what must be done can involve evil, pain +suff
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Situation Ethics


view coined by Joseph Fletcher that there is a single, absolute principle of love to be applied in each situation, to produce the best outcome. developed from Temple's situationalism

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Three moral approaches to moral life


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