I) Outline the important concepts of either situation ethics or utilitarianism ii) To what extent are these important concepts undermined by relevant criticisms? Situation Ethics is a normative, relative ethical theory. It emerged at a time when the Church and society were changing, women were given a more prominent status in the workplace and the paternalism of society was decreasing. Thee main factor of change was the sexual revolution of the sass’s, people were beginning to express their individualism and factors such as music, drugs and fashion were changing rapidly.
The invention of the pill revived people with a reliable contraception and this lead to pre-marital sex becoming a norm. The Church was outraged by this as it is seen as a major sin to have sex before marriage. Due to the reaction Of the Church, American Theologian Joseph Fletcher wrote a book named ‘Situation Ethics’ which outlined a new moral approach to Christian ethical decision making. An important concept of situation ethics is Fletcher idea that the absolute rule was that of love. He claimed that the morality of a decision depends on its situation.
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Situation ethics was based on the concept of love. There are 3 efferent types of love is Greek, Eros which means erotic lover Philip which meant friendship love and agape love which was selfless love, Christians would recognize this as neighbor love which Jesus demonstrated by sacrificing himself for humanity. Fletcher believed in agape love, and based his theory on it. He said that love is the important thing and is even seen taking priority in the bible as the early Christians based their fellowship on love.
Another important concept of the theory is Fletcher claim that there are 3 approaches to ethics, the legalistic, which was fixed moral rules such as the Decoupage. The antinomian which meant to rules whatsoever, purely ad hoc. The third was the Fletcher approach which was the situational approach, this as more flexible than the legalistic approach and more principled than the antinomian. The situational approach meant entering a situation with rules but being prepared to set them aside if love is best served doing so.
Furthermore, an important concept of situation ethics are the four fundamental presuppositions. The first is pragmatism, which means that anything you propose must be able to work in practice. The second is personalize, which meant that people come first not rules, for example a ecclesiastic would say “what are the rules” a situations would reply “who is to be helped? ” Also positivism which means that all value judgments must be based on love, and lastly relativism which meant that all decisions must be relative to the situation.
Moreover, an important concept of the theory is the six working principles of situation ethics for example “Love is the only means” this meant that anything is justified if the consequence is Of love, the ends justify the means. Also, “love is not liking it is always willing your neighbors good” This is the idea that you do not have to like someone but still always do hat is best for them e. G. A teacher helping a student. Another example is “love is only good” this is the idea that nothing is good in itself except love. Fletcher also quotes J. A.
Robinson is his book who says “man has come of age” this means that the time has come where humans have stopped looking to God for help on moral decisions. He also quotes a SST. Louis cab driver who he heard saying “sometimes you got to put your principles aside and do the right thing”. Ii) The important concepts of situation ethics are also undermined by many relevant criticisms. For example the idea of always doing the most boning thing contradicts with the idea of justice. Justice and ‘always doing the most loving thing cannot exist side by side.
Moreover a criticism is made that Fletcher contradicts himself. He claims that there are no fixed rules however he says that you must always do the most loving thing. Furthermore a criticism is that the theory is based on the teachings of Jesus and Christian love, this makes the theory a religious system of ethics *Non-religious people and people of other religions will not want to follow this theory as they do not believe in the Christian religious system. Another criticism is made that the inconsequential nature of the theory is not suitable.
You cannot always determine the consequences of an action therefore it is wrong to base your ethical decisions on things that you aren’t certain of. Think that the criticisms undermine the concepts of situation ethics by a great extent. I came to this conclusion based on the criticism which I thought bought the whole ethical theory crashing down. This is the criticism made by many that love is subjective. The definition of love depends on people’s feelings and opinions therefore it can be argued tattoo cannot base your ethical choices on something everyone has different opinions on.