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Consider the application of situation ethics on a moral dilemma relating to sexual ethics

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Introduction

Consider the application of situation ethics on a moral dilemma relating to sexual ethics. The moral dilemma I am describing is based upon sacrificial adultery taken from William Bailay. During the war lots of Jewish families were taken away from their homes and separated. One family the 'Belmont's' were taken away by the German troops. The two children were left abandoned by the troops in the mountains, while Mrs Belmont was taken to a concentration camp in Berlin. Mr Belmont somehow managed to escape from the German army and fled back to their hometown in Hamburg where he was reunited with his two children. Mrs Belmont however was stuck in the Berlin concentration camp; a kindly officer somehow informed her that her family were reunited and searching for her. However he could not release her, as there were only two conditions that would allow someone to be released. 1- if someone carried a disease that the camp could not cope with or 2- if a woman was pregnant as she would then be a liability and no use to the camp. ...read more.

Middle

Love can justify anything in situation ethics as long as the end result satisfies love.' In this situation the woman seeks to find the best possible outcome. She does not wish to commit adultery but does so in order for her to be returned to her family. So In this circumstance love is the end that is sought and so it satisfies this working principle. An advantage to applying situation ethics to any circumstance is that you can go against laws this again was established earlier. In this case Mrs Belmont was able to go against the law of adultery because in doing so she was providing the most loving outcome possible. In situation ethics you are able to go against certain boundaries as long as the end justifies the means, as love is the end the action has to provide love to be right. However we do also have to look at the disadvantages for applying situation ethics to this dilemma. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her family were obviously desperate to find her and for them all to be reunited, and if this was the case the husband and family should support her decision. If she knew and loved them then she would base her decision on the understanding that they would approve. I am not denying that committing adultery was wrong but in the context of the situation I find no fault in what she did. I am a supporter for situation ethics to some extent but I do acknowledge that it has many disadvantages as well. I support the ethic 'to do whatever is the most loving thing.' As Vardy mentions at the beginning of 'The puzzle of ethics') There are two main quotations that sum up situation ethics, one outlined in the 4th of the 6 working principles and the second quoted by Paul Tillich: 'The law of love is the ultimate law because it is the negotiation of law; it is absolute because it concerns everything concrete.... The absolutism of love is its power to go into concrete situations' I feel that this quote sums up the main point that situation ethics attempts to put across- the principle of love. ...read more.

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