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Examine what is meant by 'situation ethics'.

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Introduction

Examine what is meant by 'situation ethics'. 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. Fletcher rejects legalism because it cannot accommodate 'exceptions to the rule'. If you reject one aspect of the law you surely reject it all. He also rejects antinomianism on the bases of the idea, which argues that reality is composed of singular events and moments in time. Fletcher argued that it is in fact the individual and the situation that is the most important thing as it is the application of an ethical principle that makes an action good or evil. ...read more.

Middle

For example, it is considered wrong to steal, but if by stealing a gun you are preventing a person from killing people then you have acted in love and thus your theft is none accountable. In fact the only accountability in situation ethics is whether your actions will result in the highest possible expression of love for others. Fletcher sought to traverse a middle way of love between lots of rules and no rules. One of fletchers main arguments in 'situation ethics' is that Christians are meant to love people not laws and it is an argument that is grounded in four working principles and six fundamental principles. The four working principles are: 1): the practical course of an action is motivated by love 2): the necessity is always respond in love to each situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

3): justice is love at work in the community. 4): love wills the neighbours good, whether we like him or not, Christian love is unconditional. 5): love is the end - never a means to something else. And finally 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 'you cant say is it ever right to lie to your family?' the answer must be 'I don't know'. As a concrete situation is needed, not a generalisation . 'it all depends' seems to be the catchphrase of the situationist. Overall Fletcher's theory of situation ethics is based on agape love. You all must do the most loving thing. In situation ethics, there are no absolutes, everything you do depends on the situation. Ellen Hooper 12DB ...read more.

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