Situation Ethics 2

SITUATION ETHICS
SITUATION ETHICS
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KEY TERMS
KEY TERMS
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What does justice mean?
ordinarily refers to notions of fair distribution of benefits for all. Fletcher specifically sees justice as a kind of tough love; love applied to the world
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What is pragmatism?
acting, in moral situations, in a way that is practical and not ideological
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What is relativism?
the rejection of absolute moral standards, such as laws or rights. good and bad are relative to an individual or community, or in Fletcher's case, love
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What is positivism?
proposes something as true or good without demonstrating it. Fletcher posits love as good
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What is personalism?
ethics centred on people, rather than laws or objects
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What is often understood as the conscience?
May be used to describe a faculty within us, a process of moral reasoning, or insights from God, or it may be understood in psychological terms. Fletcher described it as a function rather than a faculty
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What are teleological ethics?
moral goodness is determined by the end result
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What are legalistic ethics?
law- based moral decision making
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What are antinomian ethics?
antinomian ethics do not recognise the role of law in morality ('gnomes' is Greek for law)
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What are situational ethics?
another term for situation ethics, ethics focused on the situation and no fixed rules
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What is agape love?
unconditional love, the kind found in situationism
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What does extrinsically good mean?
good defined with reference to the end rather than good in and of itself. Fletcher argued only love was intrinsically good
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What were Fletcher's three approaches to moral thinking?
Legalistic, antinomian, situational ethics
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What does legalistic ethics base its decisions from?
A set of pre-fabricated rules and laws
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In which way does Christianity have legalistic features?
based on 10 commandments and the precepts expounded by Aquinas
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What did Fletcher think a legalistic mind set led to?
a web of laws- laws must accumulate to cover all eventualities. such as a law must be introduced to stop killing, and then more to allow killing in self defence and abortion e.t.c
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Why would a web of laws be a problem for somebody making a moral decision?
It becomes difficult to keep track of what one can do- it becomes confusing and difficult
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What is antinomian ethics?
The reverse of legalistic. A person does not use any type of laws, principles, or system of ethics
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What did Fletcher say about antinomian ethics?
'it is literally unprincipled, purely ad hoc an casual... they are, exactly, anarchic'
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What is situational ethics?
where moral action depends on the situation. It is a middle ground between legalistic and antinomian ethics.
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How does a situationist enter a moral dilemma and what must they be prepared to do?
Enter a moral dilemma with the ethics, rules and principles of their society/culture, but must be prepared to bypass these laws if love is best served by doing so
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What did Fletcher say about a situationist?
'the situationist follows a moral law or violates it according to God's need'
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What did Fletcher say when he was asked whether adultery was right or wrong and why did he say this?
'Give me a real case'- this shows that something cannot be intrinsically right or wrong, only extrinsically right or wrong
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AGAPE LOVE
AGAPE LOVE
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Where does agape love have its origins?
The New Testament
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What is agape love?
Unconditional, selfless love
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Where in the Bible does God show this love?
When he sent his son to die John 3:16
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Which section of the Bible does Fletcher think showed the agape love as the greatest commandment?
Matthew 22:34-40
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What does this say?
'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength'. The second is this 'love your neighbour as yourself, no commandments are greater than these'
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What did Jesus replace with the principle of love?
The Torah
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What is theological agapism?
Our love of God is expressed by loving each other
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Who constiutes as a neighbour?
everyone, even people that we dislike
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SIX PROPOSITIONS
SIX PROPOSITIONS
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What is the first proposition?
'Only one thing is intrinsically good; namely love: nothing else at all'
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Why aren't actions intrinsically good and what are they instead?
They form part of a chain of cause and effect. they are good or bad depending on whether they produce the most loving result. They are extrinsically good/bad
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Give an example of hen lying in a situation will be the most loving thing to do?
People in WW2 lying about where Jews were living
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What is the second proposition?
'The ruling norm of Christian decision is love: nothing else'
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Give an example of when Jesus broke the rules in the Bible?
He allowed people to work on the Sabbath day, rejecting the obligations of Sabbath Observance
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What replaces laws in Situation Ethics?
Love
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Give an example of a rule from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that is commonly broken?
Wearing clothes woven from more than one kind of cloth
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What is the third proposition?
'love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed, nothing else'
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Give a quote from Fletcher about the distribution of love
'Justice is love coping with situations where distribution is called for'
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Give an example of where this has happened?
America, challenging racial segregation laws was the right thing to do, we cannot say all people created equal and then legalise segregation because this separates love and justice which is wrong
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When love is fairly shared out what is achieved?
Justice
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What is the fourth proposition?
'Love wills the neighbours good, whether we like him or not'
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Where can this love be found in the Gospel of Luke?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
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who is a neighbour ?
everyone
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What is the fifth proposition?
'Only the end justifies the means; nothing else'
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To consider moral actions without reference to their ends is a...
Haphazard approach
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What must the end be?
The most loving result
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What is the name of ethics that are focused on the end result?
Teleological
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What must be considered when weighing up a situation?
Desired ends, means available, motive for acting, foreseeable consequences
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What is the sixth proposition?
'Love decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively'
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What did Jesus distance himself from?
rule based Jewish groups
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This gives people what when making moral decisions?
Freedom to act in the way that best serves love
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Moral decisions should be considered when...
The situation arises, not pre-decided rules
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What are the four working presuppositions?
Pragmatism, relativism, positivism, personalism
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What is pragmatism?
Practical, based on experience and doing things
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What is philosophy pre-occupied with and how does the situationist differ?
Philosophy pre occupies with questions such as 'what is truth?' whereas situationist take a pragmatic approach of 'What works?'
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Give an example of when the Catholic Church took a pragmatic approach?
Bosnian conflict 1990' s. **** used against civilian women in Communist country. In 1993 Catholic Church approved use of contraception. This was a pragmatic decision that set aside rules and ethical ideals
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What does relativism mean?
Each situation is unique, and decision should be made depending on the circumstances
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Why isn't situationism an absolute relativist ethical theory?
Because its decisions must always be relative to love
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Who did Jesus reject the fix rule morality of?
The Pharisees
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Give an example of when Jesus rejected the rules and took a relativist stance?
Followers picked corn on the Sabbath day
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Why did Jesus do this?
Because 'the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath'
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Give a quotation from Fletcher which demonstrates how a Situationist is relativist
'the situationist avoids words like "never" and "perfect" and "always" and "complete" as he avoids the plague, as he avoids "absolutely"
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What is positivism?
about choice, we are not obliged to act in a certain way, but we choose to act in the interests of love
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What is natural positivism?
Reason deduces faith from human experience. Nature provides the evidence and reason interprets it eg natural law
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What is theological positivism?
Faith statements are made and people act in light of these statements
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Situationism beings with a belief in...
A belief in the importance and reality of love
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Situation ethics relies on Christians freely choosing that...
God is love
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What is personalism?
Focuses on people and their needs, not blind obedience to rules and commandments
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What does the legalism put first in contrast to the situationist?
Legalist puts law first and the situationist puts people first
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Give a quote from Fletcher that demonstrates the importance of people
'Situation ethics puts people at centre of concern, not things'
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Give an example of how the love of things is different from people?
the 'love' of buying cheap clothes made in sweatshops where people are poorly treated. They aren't loved but their work is
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Show how the decision of somebody to give up their life to save their friends is.... 1) Pragmatic
it was practical. They GAVE up their life
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FOUR WORKING PRESUPPOSITIONS
FOUR WORKING PRESUPPOSITIONS
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2) Relativist...
their actions relative to the situation. they considered it the most loving in that specific situation
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3) Positivist...
It was a choice they made- they had no compulsion. They chose to act out of love
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4) Personalism...
done for people, they did it to help their friends rather than benefit themselves
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CONSCIENCE
CONSCIENCE
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What does the conscience describe?
Our attempts to make proper decisions. it is the process of making the decision
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What does Fletcher think people are mistaken about in regards to the conscience?
He thinks people are mistaken by thinking that the conscience reviews our actions and tells us what to do
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What type of word is the conscience?
A verb, not a noun
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3 APPROACHES TO ETHICAL THINKING
3 APPROACHES TO ETHICAL THINKING
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OTHER PEOPLE
OTHER PEOPLE
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Karl Bath
Influenced Fletcher, he said actions can be morally wrong but there is a chance it could be right to break a moral law in some cases like abortion
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What did John Robinson say?
'It will all descend into moral chaos'- it gives each person too much authority (they shouldn't have more then the Bible/Church)
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Why did William Barclay reject situation ethics?
not applicable to ordinary life, his examples are too extreme. Humans need laws, he is too optimistic about them. If we were all Jesus then agape love would work. And humans it tricky to make their own decisions because we are swayed by emotions
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What did William Barclay say about law?
Its the 'distillation of experience'. Over time we have learned lessons on what is this the best thing to do in situations- the most loving thing to do is to follow the law
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What did Vincent MacNamara think about Situation ethics being Christian?
if somebody has a Christian faith (Fletcher did when he created Situation ethics) then to an extent your ethics will be Christian
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What did Rudolf Bultmann say about Jesus's ethics?
Jesus had no other ethics except 'love thy neighbour' and so it is the highest end
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What did St Paul think about the ends justifying the means?
The idea of 'do evil so that good may come' is fake because the ends never justify the means. This contradicts the fifth proposition
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What did John McQuarrie say about situation ethics?
Its fundamentally individual and can't be used within a community
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What did William Temple say about the duty of love?
'There is only one ultimate and invariable duty, and it's formula is 'thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'
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What 5 types of love did C.S Lewis recognise?
storge, philia, eros, agape
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Which did he think was the most important and why?
Agape because it applies regardless of circumstance
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KEY TERMS

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KEY TERMS

Card 3

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What does justice mean?

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Card 4

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What is pragmatism?

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Card 5

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What is relativism?

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