Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Examine what is meant by situation ethics Essay
Joseph Fletcher an Angli evict theologian was the main person to ch everyenge the survey that value-systems and object lessonity pick up to be ground around up maturenesss and rules. He developed three carriages of do moral decisions, these were1. The antinomian way2.The legalistic way3. The moorageal wayThe antinomian way was a way of making decisions with surface any honors or beliefs. It is what feels rightfield at that particular time and on no bases whatsoever, and on how it feels to you. This was in any case where existentialism arose. Existentialism existence a principle developed by a 19th ampere-second Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. His theory was that the trounce way to attain decisions was for each private to find their own unique bases for morality the tack togetheration for his argument was that no objective or rational bases could be grounded in moral decisions. So the antinomian advancement is thitherfore that in every existential effect or unique situation the situation itself provides the ethical solution.The legalistic approach creation at the other end of the scale. This is a way of making decisions with watch to laws or rules. The legalist will live their life in accordance with a set of guide melodic lines or rules. For exercise Jews will abide by the rules of the Torah and make their decisions primarily from this source. Joseph Fletcher suggested a third way of making moral decisions and this was c alled the situational way, which consists of a compromise between antinomianism and legalism. In the situational approach every decision is make on bingle universal principle and that is honor.In situation morals his deliberate was to look at each situation individually. His main line of argument was that the tho moral principle that could be applied to all situations is that of acknowledge, orTo do whatever is the most harming social occasion. (Fletcher quoted by Jenkins, moral philosophy and religion p47). Whereas Natural law theorists ask what the law states, Fletcher asks what is the best likely decision to cooperate others and provide lamb in doing so. thitherfore in his view this is non a law in itself, and its non dictating what should be d whiz in any particular situation but or else an approach that informs moral choice. In other words you should always have someones best interest at heart.A nonher one of Fletchers arguments was that Christians ar meant to savour and care for each other and God is similarly portrayed to be all- good-natured. As this is the case for Christians shouldnt morality withal be ground around this theory to do the most loving involvement? The Christian perspective like umteen other religions is based around the idea of congenital law. The natural law ethic arose in the 4th century BCE by Aristotle. The Christian theologian and philosopher Thomas doubting Thomas further developed the ideas first sic forward by Aristotle. He argued t hat the natural direct of the world is found in God. He depict natural law in the following way by suggesting that all volume should follow the law of God. He in like manner believed that Human purpose was to reproduce, to learn, to live harmoniously in society and to worship God. (Jenkins p26, quoted by www.faithnet. resignserve.co.uk/situation_ethics.htm).His last-ditch belief was that Natural law describes not only how things are, but in any case how they ought to be furthermore this happens when things fulfil their natural purpose. Natural law is only concerned with what seems to be the natural course of fulfill for humans to set out and this is where the conflict arises with situation ethics. There are many circumstances where what appears to be natural doesnt appear to be loving. This is why theologians such(prenominal) as Joseph Fletcher dont agree with the natural law ethic as it causes much controversy. For exercise the Catholic Church underas wellk the natural law approach to guide them in terms of their sexual behaviour. They saw the natural purpose for sexual intercourse to be procreation, so thitherfore anything that proves to be a barrier to this end outcome is not allowed i.e. contraception.When developing an approach to Situation ethics Fletcher suggested 4 working principles and 6 fundamental principles to abstraction his ideas. The 4 working principles are1.Pragmatism- being ideas and theories that have to work in practice, to be right of sober it has to produce a desirable outlet that satisfies write outs demand. The main emphasis is that the practical course of the action should be motivated by love.2.Relativism- To be sexual congress, on has to be relative to something, as situation ethics maintains it has to relate to love and should always suffice to love in each situation. Fletcher says it relativises the absolute it does not absolutise the relative (Fletcher quoted from Vardy get under ones skin of ethics p126). Meanin g each absolute can be make relative to love but relativism cannot be applied to a concrete situation as love acts differently in different situations, it depends on how its applied and this varies with each circumstance.3.Positivism- this is accepting to act in love by faith rather than by reason, once faith is declared it is back up by logic. In situation ethics positing a belief in God as love or a higher good and then reasoning what is required in any situation to have that belief.4.Personalism- This is the desire to put people not laws first. It is always what is the best to help a person that makes a decision a good one. As God is meant to be personal on that pointfore morality should also be person-centred.However It is the main framework of situation ethics that is outlined by the 6 fundamental principles. These are1. There is only one thing that is intrinsically good- love. Actions are good if they are fulfilling love by serving them but reversibly they are bad if they hurt people. No wholeness act in itself is right or wrong it always depends on the situation the circumstance occurs in. Love always decides the actions that are good or bad.2. The ruling principle of Christian love is agape love. Agape love is self-giving love and this doesnt require anything in return. The overriding principle of decision-making is love.3. Love and evaluator are the same. In Fletchers words love and justice are the same thing, for justice is love distributed. (Fletcher quoted by William Bailay p73). He also claims that justice is love at work in the community in which human beings live. (Vardy, Puzzle of ethics p128).4. Thout shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (William synagogue quoted by Vardy, puzzle of ethics p123). As the neighbour is a fellow member of the human family therefore love wills the neighbours good. Love is practical and not selective. Christian love is said to be unconditional so we should show love to everyone and that includes are enemies.5 . Only the end result justifies the means, love is the end- never a means to something else. Love can liberate anything in situation ethics as long as the end result satisfies love.6. Loves decisions are made in the circumstance of each situation and not prescriptively. Humans have a responsibility of freedom. No one is butt against by laws, so with this responsibility comes the notion to do the most loving thing and to apply this to every situation.Fletcher claims that it is a mistake to generalise. You cant say Is it ever right to lie to your family? The answer must be, I dont know, give me an example. A concrete situation is needed, not a generalisation. It all depends may well be the watchword of the Situationist. (Puzzle of ethics, Vardy p.130)There are many moral dilemmas when given certain situations, and taking the situational view we are faced with the duty to do the most loving thing possible, and to serve agape love. Taking an example from William Bailay, on a state of nature trial to Kentucky many people lost their lives to Indians who hunted them down. In one case there was a muliebrityhood who carried her sister with her and her electric razor was crying. The mishandles crying was betraying the rest of the camp as the cries were leading the Indians to them. The make clung to her child and as a result the whole camp was found and they were all killed. In another case a total darkness woman and her party found themselves in the same situation, their lives were in danger, as they too would be found out if the baby continued to cry.However the Negro woman strangled her child to stop its cries, and as a result the whole party escaped. How can we tell which action was love? The give who kept her baby and brought death all, or that of the mother who killed her own child to save the lives of her family and friends? This is a perfect example of the type of decisions that situation ethics confronts us with. In situation ethics there is no clear right or wrong, it has to be applied by each circumstance. alike there is no intrinsic value, no goodness or rigourousness held purely in an action itself. Situation ethics says it all depends on the situation and whether or not it fulfils love. Goodness and badness are not properties of moral actions they are predicates.This demonstrates one of the key aspects and an reinforcement for situation ethics. sometimes morality can be somewhat restricted hitherto in taking the situational approach there are no moral rules. If someone with morals can only abide to duty they cant go alfresco their own boundaries. This is the case in many Orthodox religions. Whereas situation ethics maintains that there are no absolutes, you are allowed to go outside certain boundaries if in doing so you are providing the most loving result. tell apart the Islamic faith for example. Muslims follow the laws of the Koran one law is do not steel, which is an absolute. But say if there were a ace mother l iving in the poorer regions of the country who had no money and was try to feed her starving children. Would it be right for the mother to let her children lust?Or would it be better for the woman to go against the law and mayhap steel some food in order for them to survive? If the woman followed her religion seriously then it would not be morally right for her to steel and as a result her children lives would be at stake. This is the gain of situation ethics, it says that words like never and absolute cant be used because their will always be exceptions. Another advantage of situation ethics is that people are always put first, it is a personal matter. People are made more grave than principles. This goes against the legalistic approach. Where legalism put laws in first specify conversely situation ethics makes people the main emphasis.Furthermore we practically find that the outside world is unendingly changing. As we live in the new-made day and age we are on a constant ro ller coaster of changing situation. As a result of this many religions find it extremely difficult to apply their laws to the modern world. Take the Torah being applied to the modern age or orthodox Jews attempts to conserve laws against modern relativism to be an example. Because situation ethics can revision with time this gives it a huge advantage. Situation ethics also makes the important link between love and justice, which is another key aspect and this is shown as the third of the six fundamental principles. To Fletcher justice is love distributed and Justice is love working out its problems. (William Bailay p73)However there have also been many criticisms of Situation Ethics. When referring to the meaning of love, this is sometimes seen to be too general. As love has no definite meaning, it changes according to the situation, it becomes relative, and so it cannot be said that there is only one moral absolute. As there are no specific guidelines for agape love it could be sa id that it is possible to justify any action. These are dangerous boundaries. The question What might happen if I allow euthanasia once? could be asked. It may be substantial to know where to draw the line people all over the place might start killing their grandparents because they are too oldin the name of love Situation ethics sometimes relies on spontaneity, however spontaneity can sometimes be misguided. It may turn out to be irrational and foolish.The abandonment of rules may in turn recoil situation ethics to antinomianism. It may lead to a state of moral flux as rules play an important part in sociological maintenance. It is also been decided that there are certain examples of absolutes. Take rape, child abuse and genocide, these are all examples of absolutes that are wrong and under no circumstance would they be right. You would not be able to justify this with love. It is often quite trying to understand exactly what is meant by the meaning of love. It can be hard to kn ow what they most loving thing to do is. It is also hard to know what the most loving thing is in terms of the consequence. How can we prefigure all the consequences of an action? This can be shown by euthanasia. Say their was a man who had aids and had only a 5% chance of getting better again, he approached his friend and asked him if he would end his life for him. What happens if he got better?Even if there is only a very tiny chance there is liquid a chance. The man might suddenly make a recovery and go on to lead a long and prosperous life. How can we predict the consequences? It is also hard when attempting to share love out fairly in a particular situation. This can also be shown by this example of euthanasia it is hard to know what is the best for the person, friends and family. It might be best for the man but what might be best for him might not necessarily be the most loving thing for the family or their friends. It is also quite hard to view a situation from a whole un biased perspective.There is a possibility that a decision could be made selfishly with or without realising it but as its in the name of love it is justifiable. This again makes the boundary for love very hard to distinguish. It is also questionable as to whether it is possible for all members of society to evaluator each situations by its merits. A lot of time and energy has to go into the decision this isnt always accessible to everyone. How practical is situation ethics? Finally on what basis is it possible for the situationist to make moral decisions? What happens when there are no ultimate ethical principles? The situationist is making prejudiced decisions based potentially on personal whims. An example of a danger caused by this can be seen in the actions of Adolf Hitler and his attitude towards the Jews in the Second human being War.For those who felt that situation ethics went to far in attempting to set itself free from any conception of law, there is an approach that com bines both theories of natural law and of situation ethics. This approach is known as proportionalsim. Proportionalists hold the belief that there are particular situations where moral rules should be abided to unless there is a proportionate reason for not contending with them.This reason would be grounded in the situation itself. In this way the primary precepts of natural law could be accepted (e.g. killing, stealing, deceitfulness etc) as the ground rules unless there was a sufficient reason for not doing so. Proportionalists hold a clear distinction between moral and non-moral acts. For example proportionalists would say abortion is wrong, but it may be morally right in the circumstances of that situation. However unlike situationalists they say that love does not then make a wrong action right. Furthermore they still incur the same problems that situationalists face in trying to determine what bests serves love in a situation, and on making decisions by selfish means.