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Situation Ethics

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Introduction

Situation Ethics Situation ethics is not dissimilar from utilitarianism, in that it is a way a deciding upon the correct action that is to be taken in a given situation. It does however take an individualistic approach, with the emphasis being upon each person, rather than looking after the majority, as is the case in utilitarianism. It is a Christian principle, and so would not apply to those outside of Christianity. It revolves around what the most loving thing to do is. Joseph Fletcher, an American professor of ethics used his beliefs and concerns to come up with what he believed was a fair way of deciding what was the right action to take in a situation. He didn't like the way in which so many ethical theories, such as utilitarianism were based upon and around a basic set of rules, a legalistic approach. He believed that it was too rigid, and did not allow for exceptions. He also firmly disapproved of any antinomian, because it "Rejects the idea that there are any authoritative laws, rules or regulations that you ought to obey in a decision-making situation."1 Instead he used love as a general rule in decision making; not "storge", to love a country or place; not "philia", to love a family member or friend; ...read more.

Middle

There is a stereotype that would say the Mrs. A is more likely to get the job as it is thought that nursing is a job for women, as building is a job for men, but is this taken into consideration when the choice is taken? There is also the question as to whether or not personal circumstances will be taken into consideration, as you may argue that Mr. B is more entitled to the job, and therefore the pay, because he has to support a family. If you argue from a situationists perspective you may reach one of a number of different conclusions based on your choice of argument. One that you would not come to however is that Mrs. A deserves the position on the grounds that she is female and nursing is a woman's job. If you look at the argument from the perspective of why they want the position you may look at the different meanings of love and you could say that they both want the job in the sense of "philia"; Mrs. A because she is doing it for her mother, after witnessing her death, but this could also be seen as "agape" on the grounds that she wants to help people who are in a similar position to her mother so this raises a slight problem which is not dealt with within situation ethics. ...read more.

Conclusion

A's wife is bringing in any sort of income. If she was then you may give the position to Mrs. B because she is unable to support herself, but this would really not be a situation ethics argument. In conclusion, you would not have as much of a dilemma if you were arguing from utilitarianism because for the greatest good of the greatest number you would give Mr. A the job, but you are not, and situation ethics is far broader than one simple statement. I believe you would give him the job however even from a situation ethics perspective but it is very difficult to decide because you have no way of telling the main reasons for each applying, but the fact that Mr. A loves his family and wants to support them appears to give him the edge, not to say that Mrs. B does not have a strong argument, but just not quite as strong as Mr. A's. 1 Dialogue-Special Issue, Ethical Theory; p.47 2 The Holy Bible New International Version; Matthew 22:39 3 Ethical Studies; Robert A Bowie; Nelson Thornes Ltd; published 2001; p.102 4 Ibid; p.102 5 Situation Ethics- The New Morality; Fletcher; p.50 (Taken from ibid) 6 Situation Ethics; Fletcher; SCM Press Ltd; published 1966; p.89 7 Moral Responsibility; p.19 8 Ethical Studies; p.104 ...read more.

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