Situation Ethics

  • Created by: hypatia7
  • Created on: 25-11-17 11:22

Situation Ethics

Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) - published work 'Situation Ethics'

-Takes agape as test of all moral actions  (agape- communal love which asks for nothing in return)

-Middle ground between legalism and antinomianism

(Legalism - fixed laws to be obeyed)

(Antinomianism - no laws present to be obeyed)

-Moral action depends on situation

-Set aside rules/ethics/tradition if agape love is better served by doing so 

-'Loving people, not laws'

-Single, absolute principle - agape love

-Rejects 'prescriptive rules'

-Rooted in New Testament - looks to actions of Jesus, who set aside laws/broke rules for the good of the people

-'Limited consequentalism' (agapeistic)

(Consequentalism - consequences of an action determine whether it is the right thing to do)

-Fletcher: love "regardless of context" is "always good and right in every situation. Love is the only universal".

-NOT a relativist theory since there is ONE universal (agape love).

-Particular judgements may be relative but absolute maxim of love must be applied

Four Working Principles

-Principles that need to be applied for Situation Ethics to work



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