Situation Ethics

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Who developed Situation Ethics?
Joseph Fletcher, an American priest
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When did Fletcher write his book 'Situation Ethics' and what happened a year later?
His book was written in 1966 and a year later he renounced his faith
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What was Fletcher influenced by?
The social revolution of the 1960s e.g. birth control, sexual liberation, civil rights, etc
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What does Situation Ethics show elements of?
Christian theology and post-war liberal thinking
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What did John Robinson say about the theory?
That it was the "only ethic for 'man come of age'."
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What did Fletcher want from this theory?
A theory that had roots in Christianity but but also met the requirements of a new free-thinking society
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What did Fletcher want the theory to be a 'midway' between?
Antinomian ethics (no rules) and legalistic/deontological ethics
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What sort of theory is Situation Ethics? Think Utilitarianism
Consequentialist, relativistic and teleological
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What was the most important rule in the theory for Fletcher?
The rule of love or agape
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What is 'agape'?
Unconditional and unsentimental love towards everyone
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What key New Testament reference does Fletcher use to back up the rule of love?
'Love your neighbour as yourself'
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For Situation ethicists, what is 'acting morally'?
Performing the action which shows the most love
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What makes the theory relativistic?
Fletcher's recognition that no two situations are the same and, therefore, we may need to act differently to bring about the optimum amount of love
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Give an example to back up Fletcher's claim that different situations need different approaches
In one situation it may be necessary to lie and in others it may not - it is situation dependent
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What did Fletcher disagree with?
Having concrete rules such as 'do not lie' as they cannot be applied to all situations
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What do Vardy and Grosch argue in The Puzzle of Ethics?
That Fletcher claims it is 'a mistake to generalise' and that you 'can't say "is it every right to lie to your family?"the answer must be "I don't know, give me an example". A concrete answer is needed, not a generalisation.'
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How does Fletcher justify his relativistic approach?
Using Mark (2:23-28) where Jesus and his disciples are criticised for picking grain to eat on the Sabbath (working). Jesus's response was 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'
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What are the 6 Fundamental Principles?
Love only is always good, love is the only rule, love and justice are the same, love is not liking, love justifies the means, love is situation dependent
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What are the 4 working principles?
Practical ways of applying the Rule of Love: Pragmatism, Positivism, Personalism and Relativism
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Give one of Fletcher's examples of the theory being applied
The Case of the Lying Spy: It would be better for the spy to lie and save lies than to tell the truth
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Give other examples of how the theory could be applied
An unwanted teenage pregnancy, assisted suicied, conjoined twins
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Card 2

Front

When did Fletcher write his book 'Situation Ethics' and what happened a year later?

Back

His book was written in 1966 and a year later he renounced his faith

Card 3

Front

What was Fletcher influenced by?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What does Situation Ethics show elements of?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What did John Robinson say about the theory?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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