• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How useful is Joseph Fletchers Situation Ethics as a guide to human behaviour?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How useful is Joseph Fletchers Situation Ethics as a guide to human behaviour? Situation Ethics (SE) is teleological, as it is dependant on the calculation of consequences and is therefore a subjective approach to ethical decision making. This approach was originally bought about by Joseph Fletcher, whose basic principle of Utility was love. He believed in no absolutes but a situationist approach. "The morality of an action depends on the situation" Like Utilitarianism SE is based on a single principle which enables humans to enter every situation armed with the experience and model of past situations, but willing to lay them aside if the principle of love is better served i.e. euthanasia could be permitted in extreme circumstances, because it would be a loving act to save an old person from an otherwise painful, undignified death in a few hours, or what about killing Hitler before he caused WW2 or the Holocaust? The law would not have allowed this but surely it would have been loving to save millions of lives. So fundamentally SE is all about which course of action best serves love, and therefore gives every being the freedom of decision making, rubbishing all laws, norms, and values of society. "Only one thing is good; namely love; nothing else at all" This quote is SE summed up as the only significant factor to be considered should be love. ...read more.

Middle

in other words Jesus is saying one should be willing to take life if it was for the greater happiness. He has adopted a situationist approach, and therefore the Teachings of Jesus are a very vital strength of SE. Furthermore SE is based on love, as it seeks the well being of others, even if the course of action is not of preference. So many will se it as a good course of action as love is seen to be universally good "The law of love is the ultimate law" thus it demands that people should be put first before all norms and laws of society. This is another strength of SE as each situation has its own uniqueness, complexity and variety in, every situation is judged individually and not according to some democratic law that may not even be applicable to everyone. "The morality of an action depends on the situation" in other words individual cases are judged on their own merits, irrespective of what has been done in similar situations in the past. This is a strong point a situationist would raise. However, opponents of SE would argue that is too individualistic as often situations are very hard for someone to individually judge what is loving, as they are bound to see things from their perspective. ...read more.

Conclusion

A man could easily argue that extra-marital sex is ok with a married woman, because he "loves" her and her husband does not. This doesn't necessarily make the action right. Another strong argument against SE is that it tends to assume that just because an act is well motivated, it is automatically right. This is clearly not the case. Just because you wouldn't blame someone who accidentally killed two kids while trying to save his neighbour's dog, doesn't mean that his action was, with observation, objectively right. What about the mother to whom the two kids belonged to? Does SE take both sides into account or is it simply a one sided affair? So how can SE argue a case in which two people reach different conclusions about an action, yet both claim to be acting in the interests of morality and love? So far the arguments we have looked at provide a hugely contrasting picture, the basic contradictions seem to be Fletchers definition of love, and how it can be different to different people, whereas Fletcher argues if you act in a situation with love in mind it is the right thing. So in conclusion, I believe Joseph Fletchers SE is a good guide to human behavior as actions are always performed through the end goal of love. It always seeks the well being of others and most importantly it always takes the consequences of an action into account unlike absolutist approaches. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. Since the beginning of human existence, there has been once practice,

    If the chasm is holy, than it makes sense for the river which flows into it to be sacred, too. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, In these lines, Coleridge uses alliteration and rhyme

  2. To what extent can Marian be seen as an unsympathetic character?

    Leo is even uncertain if she loves her own mother, ?Did Marian love her, That I could not tell.�(tm) If Marian can appear unloving towards her own mother, it speaks volumes about her character. Marian makes reference to her mother in the epilogue, ?mother had to go away�(tm), her casual and flippant tone makes it out as something quite insignificant.

  1. Was Janie truly happy at the end of the novel as she killed Tea ...

    particular expressions are generated from male authors those expressing such an ignorant ideal on her ending. I agree with this quote in conclusion: "Janie decides she will not be treated as a mule if she has to reject the values her grandmother has taught her."

  2. Explain the Principles That Roman Catholics Believe Should Guide Their Relationships.

    An important part of marriage, which, can be abused, though, is sex. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church "Sex is an integral part of human nature which is a gift from God that should be used in a loving and respectful way, as through the sexual act a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work