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Situation ethics

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Situation ethics essay Mrs Jenkins Carly Smart Introduction: Situation ethics is a theory based around love. It is a teleological theory which means it is a consequential theory and not one based on rules. Situation ethics is not based on all types of love but agapeistic love which is love for your fellow man. In the Christian tradition this may be expressed as, 'Love your neighbour as you love yourself' (Matthew 22:39 The Holy Bible) this making it the most Christian of all theories. A song that was written by Paul McCartney and john Lennon gives the idea of situation ethics "all you need is love" Situation Ethics was developed by an Anglican theologian Joseph Fletcher as a result of his critique of Legalism and Antinomianism. Legalism is the idea that there are fixed moral laws which are to be obeyed at all times. Antinomianism is the idea that there are no fixed moral principles but that one acts morally spontaneously. ...read more.


Six fundamental principles: 1) No actions are intrinsically right or wrong. Nothing is good in and of itself except for love. Actions are good if they help people and bad if they don't. One cannot expect to live responsibly with moral absolutes; 2) good actions should not be done for reward (E.g. experiencing a good feeling or seeking altruistic deeds in return) but should be done for their own sake. Jesus and Paul taught love as the highest principle above the Law; 3) Justice is love at work in the community; 4) Love is practical and not selective. We should show love to all, even our enemies. Christian love is unconditional; 5) Love is the end - never a means to something else; 6) Humans have the responsibility of freedom. They are not bound by any Law. With this comes the responsibility to 'do the most loving thing' in every situation Fletcher claims that it is a mistake to generalise. ...read more.


There seems to be a confusion here between what is morally good and what is morally right (the act itself - E.g. It may be morally good for me to steal someone's gun to stop them killing people but does that then make stealing morally right?). Another problem is its lack of rules this means it is up to the person to decide what is right or wrong to do in a situation but people's feelings and emotions do not stay the same what you may think is right one day may have changed by the next. Some believe that you have to have structure in life other wise it does not work. On the other hand many people believe that situation ethics takes the right approach. It overall shows the most Christian love and it takes into the complication of life where rules do not change because of some circumstances situation ethics may be able to help. It seems to be a practical but flexible theory for people to understand and use as it gives you the freedom within the laws of love. The Agapeic calculus helps offer guide lines to individuals. ...read more.

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