Situation Ethics

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  • Created by: meegy.moo
  • Created on: 17-05-16 20:31
What does Situation Ethics teach?
To always do the most loving thing.
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What are Fletcher's 6 fundamental principles in order?
1. Love is the only thing intriniscally good. 2.the only ruling norm is love 3.Justice is love distributed. 4.Love wils the neighbour's good wether we like him or not. 5.only the end justifies the means. 6.descions made situationally, not prescrively
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What are Flethcher's 4 working principles?
positivism, pragmatism, relativism and personalism
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What does positivism mean?
Its about choice, we are not obliged to follow commandments but we act in a loving manner as this is the right thing to do.
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What does pragmatism mean?
It is pratical and concerned with doing good thing for other people.
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What does relativism mean?
It is relative as it responds to each situation uniquely but always with theintent to act in the most loving manner.
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What does personalism mean?
It is personal as it focuses on people and their needs, and dismisses blind obediene to religious teachings and commandments
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What does sitution ethis propose about situations?
No two situations are identical - no fixed rules apply to everything.
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What does legalism mean?
The christian idea that you have to do good to go to heaven.
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What is Antinomianism?
The idea that christians believe ging to heaven has nothing to do with the things you do right and wrong.
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Where is situation ethics based on legalism and antinomainism?
In the middle.
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What is a quote used to support situation ethics?
Love you neighbour as thyself.
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What informs the choices we make?
Agapeic love
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William Barclay agrees with situation ethics but what does he believe?
That some actions will always be wrong but necessary.
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Bishop John Robinson supports Situation Ethics, what does he say?
There is no ethical system that can claim to be christian it al boils down to love. Situation ethics is for a man come of age - you need the bible until you can know love.
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Thomas Aquinas believes situation ethics is weak but why?
Situational is not right - laws come from God which we must obey. There is a natural basic moral law which s divinely inspired.
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Pope Pius XII thought of situation ethics as weak, why?
It is allowing you to ignore God's insruction and is in opposition to God's natural law.
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Why did Daniel Callahan believe situation ethics was weak?
It lets you do what yo wat and has no ethics at all.
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What is a stregnth of situation ethics?
It is up to date - allowing you to change with the times. This includes ideas about marriage, sexuality and medical ethics.
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Name another two stregnths of Situation ethics?
Teleological - it focuses on the end or outcome of an action. WWJD - it follows jesus' teaching. He said that we should love our neighbour. All the Law and prophets hang on these two commandments.
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Name two more stregnths of situation ethics?
Personalist - puts people before rules. Jesus said 'sabbath was made for man not man for sabbath.' Pragmatic - Situation ethics suggests solutions that work. It is a useful ethical theory.
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Name a strength of Situation Ethics.
It is relativist - flexible, allowing individualised responses to different contexts. Rules are useful, but there are exceptions. 'sometimes you have to push aside your principles and do the right thing.'
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Name 6 weaknesses of Situation Ethics.
It is Vague, Unfair, Evil, doesn't follow rules, focuses on motives and misguided.
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Explain why situation ethics being vague is a weakness.
It is impossible to say what you're supposed to do. How do you work out what the most loving thing is, if it changes from situation to situation.
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Why is situation ethics not following rules a weakness?
We as society are supposed to follow rules. 'They weren't called the 'ten suggestions.'
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Why is does some people view situation ethics being evil a weakness.
As situation ethics allows terrible things to happen (adultery, theft, lying, murder) in the name of love.
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Explain the weakness of misguidance.
The end does not justify the means. Paul said Christians should not do evil that food may come of it.
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Why is situation ethic being unfair a weakness?
Justice requires us to follow the law, and treat all people equally. Situation ethics allows us to treat people differently, break the rules, lie and steal in individual circumstances, and this is not fair.
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How is situation ethics focusing on motive a weakness?
'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.' Just because you act out of love, this doesn't mean you have done the right thing. I may give money to a homeless man out of love, but it will probably only perpetuate his situation. Reason (not love)
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Who is Fletcher and what was he suspicious of?
An american theologian and he was suspicious of fixed rules.
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What did Fletcher think it was unwise to follow?
The rules of casuisty.
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What are rules about right and wrong deduced from and what for?
They are deduced from the perceived divine purpose and for individual acts and objects.
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What did Fletcher feel the individual should be of?
Paramount concern . Each ethical situation should be judged in its own context.
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What did Fletcher want to preserve?
The christian principle of love.
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What did Fletcher propose?
An agapeistic calculus
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What is the basic principle that underlies this system?
The duty to do whatever is the most loving thing.
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What is not proposed as a rule or law?
To do whatever is the most loving thing. The calculus does not say what a person should do in any given situation.
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What does the calculus provide and inform?
It provides a framework in which the person can decide how best to behave. The calculus informs that situation.
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What is agape?
The New testament word for compassion.
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What is the only thing intrinsically good?
Love itself.
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The criteria by which actions can be judged on rest on which principle?
The principle that the only thing intrinsically good is love itself.
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When are actions good and when are they bad?
Actions are good when they help human beings, and bad if they do not.
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In terms of situation ethics what is justice?
Love in action. It is love at work in the community.
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What is the principle of love in action?
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What does love will?
Love wills the good of the neighbour regardless of who they are.
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What does the end justify?
The means.
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What is love always?
Love is always the end and never a means to another end.
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what does love not lay down?
principles that should be followed in all circumstances.
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How are the decisions made?
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What would a person following situation ethics do?
Take each situation as it came and come to a judgement as to the best way to respond by assessing the most compassionate option.
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What did Fletcher reject?
Any sense of moral absolute.
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What criticisms did Fletcher agree with?
The criticisms of Casuistry - that each situation is different, with different circumstances.
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What could any attempt to apply a general rule to a specific situation do?
Overrule the interests of the people involved.
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Often what would the most compassionate, human approach be?
To lay aside the rule and proceed with interests of the individual at heart.
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In Fletcher's system how is the christian compassion to be exercised?
In the context of a personal God. Since the christian God is a personal God, morality should be person-centered.
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In this context, what is conscience seen as the term for?
The process by which a decision is worked through in each situation.
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What song has situation ethic often been summarised in the words of?
All you need is love (The Beatles)
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The Greeks have four words for love what are they?
1. Philos (friendship - bond between colleagues and friends) 2. Storge (Family love - the bond between parent and child) 3. Eros (Erotic love - lust) 4. Agape (Compassion-selfless love)
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Where is the famous passage in the Bible that summarises the christian attitude to agape?
The first letter to corinthians
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What does the First Letter to Corinthians state in the first part?
If i speak in the tongue of mortals and of angles, but not have love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge & faith, so as to remove mountains, but no love, I am nothing
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What does the First Letter to Corinthians state in the second passage?
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but in truth. It believes & hopes all things. Love never ends.
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How has the word love been affected?
By popular usage - when people talk of being in 'love' they usually refer to some sort of emotion or feeling associated with attraction to another human being.
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What could the word love also refer to?
The biological attraction associated with the identification of an appropriate mate and the continuation of the genetic code.
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Fletcher rejected which two main approaches to ethical decision making?
Antinomianism and Legalism
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Why did Fletcher criticise Antinomianism and Legalism?
He believed it was a recipe for moral anarchy. Without an external point of reference, anyone can claim moral authority for their actions, and differing opinions will come into moral conflict.
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What did Fletcher argue to be the only viable system of ethics?
One based on love.
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What must each situation be assessed in term of?
The most loving response.
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Which other theory would situation ethic appear to be similar to and how?
Utilitarianism, in that the act is judged by its results. Fletcher wrote that the 'good' (the pleasure principle) for Bentham and Mill is replaced by the principle of Agape.
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A person who operates a situational moral system will not be able to maintain what? (criticism)
A coherent approach to moral decision making. Each decision is made within the context of its situation - no consideration is taken of previous experience.
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What do may critics claim the theory fragments?
Complex morals issues into a series of situations. There is a danger of missing the big picture. The immediate situation could involve a particular act, but the wider situation could contradict this judgement.
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What does situation ethics appear to put the emphasis on? (Criticism)
The individual - there is no ethical framework.
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What absolute principle is a law?
Act situationally - act with the greatest love.
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Rather than replace law with a principle that can be applied situationally what has Fletcher provided? (criticism)
A single law that is as easily broken as any other.
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Why is the notion of a situation often not as clear cut as the theory requires? (criticism)
Because the act that is being considered can involve more people than simply those involved in the immediate situation.
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What type of R theory is situation ethics and how? (criticism)
It is a relativistic theory because a person's interpretation of love may vary according to their outlook.
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What may two people find they disagree on? (criticism)
The most loving response - there is nothing to support one intuitive loving response against another; promoting moral vagueness, where it would be difficult to be specific about the correct approach to an ambiguous situation.
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What might the consequences of a chosen action prove to be? (criticism)
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A chosen act does not necessarily have to be a good act simply because it appears to be the most loving act, why? (criticism)
Because it could be that the act flies in the face of popularity - held ethical opinion.
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What does the theory not take into account and why? (criticism)
Human nature. Human beings can often only act out of self interest. By the same token, a person's judgement can often be affected by their emotions - this can also cloud their ability to respond in the most loving way.
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Because people are on human how may we expect a person to react? (criticism)
It may be realistic to only expect a person to respond in the most loving way they can.
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What did Paul Tillich argue for? (proportionalism)
A position between the purely situationist position and the legalistic approach.
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What did Paul Tillich note about proportionalism?
A lack of outright rules would cause everyone to be forced to re-evaluate their moral framework in the face of each situation. This would be an impossible to maintain.
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What does proportionalism hold?
That there are certain moral rules that can never be broken unless there is a sufficiently proportional reason for doing so. This reason is situationally based - it must be sufficiently serious to merit overturning of a normally definitive rule.
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Within proportionalism what is it possible for a person to have?
A good intention but only be able to carry this intention by performing an act that would appear wrong.
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Within proportionalism where is the wrong act performed?
In the context of the situation - the intention and the intended outcome are good.
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Taken out of its context how would a proportional action be percieved?
As wrong
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How may a proportion action be seen in the context of a situation?
morally right.
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What do proportionalists argue?
That a person will know that a reason for ignoring a moral law has cropped up.
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What can we as humans see from proportionalism?
That there are few reasons to justify, lying, cheating, stealing or murder.
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Why may there be reasons to ignore the rules within proportionalism?
As the individual will assess the situation, and judge the act's intrinsic good (or bad) against the consequences.
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What did Pope John Paul II issue in 1993?
Proportionalism - the Veritas splendor
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What does the veritas splendour set out?
Modern Roman catholic moral teaching , and criticises some developments in moral relativism.
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What does Pope John Paul II restore?
The roman catholic view that there are objective moral truths, and contrasts this with the view that a moral decision must be made in the context of society.
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What does Pope John Paul II argue against and why?
Human freedom becoming an absolute itself. He places moral authority firmly with the church, and with natural law, and with the splendor of God's truth.
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Card 2


What are Fletcher's 6 fundamental principles in order?


1. Love is the only thing intriniscally good. 2.the only ruling norm is love 3.Justice is love distributed. 4.Love wils the neighbour's good wether we like him or not. 5.only the end justifies the means. 6.descions made situationally, not prescrively

Card 3


What are Flethcher's 4 working principles?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What does positivism mean?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What does pragmatism mean?


Preview of the front of card 5
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