Situation Ethics (general evaluation)

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Flashcards by taranamiq, updated more than 1 year ago
taranamiq
Created by taranamiq over 4 years ago
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Flashcards on Situation Ethics (general evaluation), created by taranamiq on 04/19/2016.

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Question Answer
A strength of SE is... + Fletcher believed that his relativistic theory is better than legalistic theories as it allows individuals to be active and autonomous agents and so think about ethics for themselves which makes them moral and responsible. While legalistic ethics makes people passive - obedient rather than moral. God did not create us to be robots but rather free moral agents and Fletcher's SE advocates this.
However... - Barclay argued that it is difficult for individuals to make their own moral decisions as we can often be swayed by our emotions or fears and persuade ourselves into thinking we are doing the most loving thing when really we are doing what suits ourselves the most. Making people responsible for their own moral actions is hard enough let alone expecting them to serve their own interests and then justifying them without SE.
Another strength is... + SE is compatible with philosophy and practical ethics due to Jesus in the Bible. He broke religious rules and dealt with everyone as individuals and according to the circumstance. This supports Fletcher's personalism and relativism principles. In the greatest commandment, one of the Pharisees tested Jesus and asked what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied "love your God with all your heart" (Mark 12:30) and the second greatest is "love your neighbour as yourself" (Mark 12:31). This is what Fletcher's guiding principle - agape - is based on.
However... - While Jesus' actions are in line with Fletcher's theory, there are more legalistic denominations that do not agree with SE as it removes God as the ultimate source of authority. Roman Catholics are traditional in many ways and closely follow the teachings of the Bible. In fact, Pope Pius XII banned SE from being discussed at RC seminaries. In 1952, he called SE 'individualistic' because people see things from their own perspective and the ideals of unconditional love may be polluted by selfish human tendency. He also called it 'subjective' because decisions are made from within the situation as it is perceived to be.
Another strength is... + Fletcher argued that in extreme moral situations, rule can often go against one another and can prevent the right thing from being done. His theory was sparked by the quote: "sometimes you have to put your moral to one side and do the right thing". I.e. in any given situation, doing the right thing is what truly counts. The example of conjoined twins - Jodie and Mary - whereby only one could survive, can be used here. It shows how rules fail and SE coming to the rescue to ensure the right thing is done. The CoE said the right thing to do is to let both girls die. However, Fletcher would have disagreed. Letting both girls is not pragmatic, rather letting one girl survive at the expense of another is the most loving thing to do.
However... - Fletcher's SE is based on extreme moral situations and account for very few real life instances. Barclay credits the theory for dealing with these extreme moral issues such as life and death scenarios but says that every day moral decisions are not this extreme and so cannot work for day to day use. E.g. Fletcher's own example of whether an imprisoned woman should commit adultery to be reunited with her family is an extreme case that is very unrealistic and unlikely to happen.
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