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Explain Situation Ethics

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Explain the theory of Situation Ethics using examples to illustrate you answer. Situation ethics is an ethical theory put forward by Joseph Fletcher. Situation Ethics is a Teleological ethical theory which is based on consequences. It's a Consequentialist and a Relative theory which looks at all circumstances. Fletcher in his book 'Situation Ethic' said that this theory is based on love, in particular Agape love. Agape love is a more profound sort of love that is associated with religious belief and often with the idea of sacrifice and it's also unconditional. Situation Ethics can be applied to situations and whether it is right or wrong depends on the situation & the most loving thing to do. For example, A Mother stealing food from a shop to feed her four children. She has no money and she doesn't want them to starve. She wants to take the risk for her children. In Situation Ethics this would be considered as the most loving thing to do and in these circumstances it would be ok for her to steal. ...read more.


For example, Judaism would have legalistic ethical tradition because they have 613 laws, which Fletcher thought was a lot of rules. It is the same for Christianity, Fletcher thought that this religion had too many rules also. For Fletcher the legalistic ethical theory had problems when life's complexities required additional laws. As an example of this, once murder has been committed, one has to clarify killing in self-defence or at war etc. The legalist must either include all of the complex alternatives in the law or create new laws to cover the result. Antinomian Ethics Antinomian ethics is the reverse to legalistic ethics. This type of ethics mean that there are no rules to it. The term 'Antinomian' means 'Against law'. An individual using Antinomian ethics doesn't really use an ethical system at all. The individual person enters decision-making as if each occasion was completely unique. They follow no forecastable course from one situation to another. Fletcher rejects this type of ethics because it's unprincipled and there are no rules applied to it. ...read more.


The ruling norm of Christian decision-making is love: nothing else. * Love is the only rule. * Jesus places the principle of love. E.g. Healing on the Sabbath day. (Day of rest) * The commandments are not absolute. * Jesus broke them when love commanded it. 3. Love and justice are the same; for justice is love distributed nothing else. * Justice is love at work in the community, in which human beings live. * Fletcher writes, 'Justice is Christian love using its head, calculating it's duties, obligations, opportunities, resources... Justice is love coping with situations where distribution is called for..' * Giving people what is due to them = Love. 4. Love wills the neighbour's good, whether we like him or not. * The love that Fletcher is on about is a desire of good of the other person. * This is Agape love. * Your neighbour is anybody and agape love goes out to everyone; not just those we like but those we don't like as well. * Agape is unconditional: nothing is required in return. * We cannot have favourites. 5. Only the end justifies the means, nothing else. ...read more.

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