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Describe the main features of Joseph Fletchers theory of Situation ethics.

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Introduction

Describe the main features of Joseph Fletcher?s theory of Situation ethics. Joseph Fletcher devised the theory of situation ethics which is based upon the invariable Christian duty of ?love thy neighbour as thyself? therefore every response to act must be based around the law of love, as love is the only thing which is intrinsically good. Fletcher also maintained that there are three ways of making moral decisions: legalistic ethics which is a set of prefabricated moral rules and regulations; antinomian ethics which bases moral decisions on spontaneity, basically against law, and then there?s Situation ethics which bases decisions on traditions of society and love. Joseph Fletcher, the mastermind behind this theory began his beliefs on situation ethics after teaching Christian ethics at school which influenced him to come up with situation ethics which is why it is so heavily Christian based. Although Fletcher depicted there was three main ways to make moral decisions (legalistic, antinomian and situation) he concluded that situation is the best out of the three. ...read more.

Middle

The second principle is relativism, which means that rules (absolutes) do not always apply, it depends on the situation., for example the absolute rule ?do not steal? becomes relative to love- if you have to feed the poor and starving, then you would steal food. However, it does not mean ?anything goes? it has to appropriate and loving. The third main principle is Positivism that you have to want to do right and make the good choice and not just base it on reason. The final principle is personalism which puts humans first so therefore the value is something is when that act happens to be useful to love in the case of a person. Another element to the theory is the six fundamental principles. They are fundamental therefore they must be abided by in order to make the best decision. The first principle is that only one thing is instrinsically good; namely love, nothing else. The second proposition is how low replaces law and isn?t equalled by any other love, for example Jesus broke the ten commandments when love demanded him to. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, people don?t usually choose to do something in the knowledge that it is wrong. Rather, they pursue an apparent good rather than a real good. That is to say that they rationalise their choice so that they think they are doing the right thing, even though they are not. For example, Hitler was persuaded that Jews were not really human beings and were evil, and rationalised the murder of six million people. He thought his actions supported the good of creating a better Germany, one in which more people would be fulfilled more of the time. Unpalatable as it may seem to say it, most Nazis would have been horrified at the suggestion that they were engaged in cold-blooded mass-murder on grounds of irrational prejudice. They believed they were pursuing an apparent good. They were horribly mistaken in their reasoning of course, but there was reasoning. If it was followed by the natural moral law, they would of understood it is wrong to kill, except in extreme circumstance- self-defence. ...read more.

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