Mais conteúdo relacionado




  1. Situation Ethics MU 👉FUFA Group 213 Aim: to know the theory of situation ethics and to know the key terms related to this topic.
  2. “The morality of an action depends on the situation”. Joseph Fletcher (1963)
  3. Key Questions •What does it mean for an action to be loving? •How might love be defined?
  4. Key Questions 1. Is moral behaviour about following rules or working things out for ourselves? 2. Are there unbreakable laws to govern moral behaviour, or should we make our own moral decisions? 3. Is abortion for health reasons just as bad as abortion for convenience? 4. Are there ever any situations when you should ignore established moral rules? 5. When deciding what is right, should the situation be taken into account?
  5. Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) ■ He was an American professor who founded the theory of Situation ethics in the 1960s. ■ He was a pioneer in bioethics and was involved in the areas of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and cloning. ■ He was a priest who later renounced his belief in God and became an atheist.
  6. Task ■ A rich man asked a lovely young woman if she would sleep the night with him. She said ‘No’. He then asked if she would do it for £100 000. She said ‘Yes!’ 1. Is it wrong to have sex for money: a) To survive? b) For luxury purchases? c) To fund a life-saving operation for a friend or relative? In each case, explain your answer. 2. Why might your answers for a, b and c differ?
  7. Key Terms ■ Agapé love ■ Antinomian ethics ■ Conscience ■ Four working principles ■ Individualistic ■ Intrinsically good ■ justice ■ Law of love ■ Legalistic ethics ■ Personalism ■ Positivism ■ Pragmatism ■ Prescriptive ■ Proportionalism ■ Relativism
  8. The Theory of Situation Ethics ■ Fletcher maintains that there are essentially three different ways of making moral decisions. 1. Legalistic ethics 2. Antinomian ethics 3. Situation ethics
  9. 3 kinds of ethical theory Extrinsic Legalistic Ethics Not part of the essential nature of someone or something; coming or operating from outside Antinomian ethics An ethical system that contains rules for every situation and/or the association of doing good with simply following those rules The view that there are no moral principles or rules at all
  10. Legalistic Ethics ■ Has a set of moral rules and regulations. ■ Judaism and Christianity both have legalistic ethical traditions. ■ Fletcher said this runs into problems – life’s complexities require additional laws. Murder, killing in self defence, killing in war, killing unborn human beings etc. ■ Becomes complex and like a textbook morality that leaves people simply to check the manual to decide what is right and wrong.
  11. Antinomian Ethics ■ The reverse of legalistic ethics. ■ It literally means ‘against law’. ■ A person using antinomianism doesn’t really use an ethical system at all. ■ He or she enters decision-making as if each occasion was totally unique. Making a moral decision is a matter of spontaneity. ■ ‘They are, exactly anarchic – i.e. without a rule’. ■ Fletcher is also critical of this approach.
  12. Situation Ethics ■ One single rule – the rule of agape . This love is not merely an emotion but involves doing what is best for the other person, unconditionally.
  13. Situation Ethics ■ The situationist enters into the moral dilemma with the principles and rules of his or her community. ■ However, they are prepared to set these rules aside in the situation if LOVE seems better served by doing so.
  14. Situation Ethics ■ ‘The situationist follows a moral law or violates it according to love’s need’. Fletcher ■ For the situationist, all moral decisions are hypothetical. They depend on what best serves love. ■ They don’t say that ‘giving to charity is a good thing’. They only say that giving to charity is a good thing if …’ ■ Lying is justified if love is better served by it.
  15. An insane murderer who asks you the whereabouts of his next victim… ■ Should be lied to! A situationist would be able to do this. ■ In that situation, a legalist must tell the truth.
  16. Task ■ A teenage girl has become pregnant as a result of being raped by a close family member. She’s very poor and very young. How would legalists, antinomians and situationists go about considering what the moral thing to do is?
  17. Situation Ethics ■ ■ Situation ethics is sensitive to variety and complexity. It uses principles to illuminate the situation, but not to direct the action. Fletcher divides his principles into two categories: 1. The four working principles and 2. The six fundamental principles
  18. The Four Working Principles and the Six Fundamental Principles
  19. Four Working Principles ■ Pragmatism ■ Relativism ■ Positivism ■ Personalism
  20. Six Fundamental Principles ■ Only one thing is intrinsically good, namely love: nothing else at all. ■ The ruling norm of Christian Decision is love: nothing else. ■ Love and Justice are the same, for love is justice distributed, nothing else. ■ Love wills the neighbour’s good, whether we like him or not. ■ Only the end justifies the means, nothing else. ■ Love’s decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively.
  21. Evaluating Situation Ethics ■ Strengths ■ Weaknesses
  22. Strengths of Situation Ethics ■ Many would welcome the flexibility of Situation Ethics. It seems less rigid than other ethical theories. ■ It requires very little (if any) theological assumptions – it in some ways suits our multicultural, multi-faith age. ■ It is practical. It does not too demanding on those who would follow it.
  23. Weaknesses of Situation Ethics ■ It is not easy to determine all the consequences of an action. ■ There’s a danger that the ideals of unconditional love may be polluted by a selfish human tendency. ■ It seems at least possible that Situation Ethics could be used to justify all kinds of actions that are simply inexcusable. Genocide, child abuse?
  24. Exam Question ■ (a) How might a Situation Ethicist respond to the claim that people should always tell ■ the truth? [33] ■ (b) Assess the strengths and weaknesses of Situation ethics. [17] ■ You will have 30 minutes to answer this question in the January exam. Deadline 16/10/06 (Next Monday)