Saturday, 19 March 2011

Situational ethics outlined

Fletcher outlined his theory in ten principles, which he split into the four working principles and the six fundamental principles.
The four working principles

There are four presuppositions that Fletcher makes before setting out the situational ethics theory:

   1. Pragmatism - This is that the course of action must be practical and work
   2. Relativism - All situations are always relative; situational ethicists try to avoid such words as "never" and "always"
   3. Positivism - The whole of situational ethics relies upon the fact that the person freely chooses to believe in agape love as described by Christianity.
   4. Personalism - Whereas the legalist thinks people should work to laws, the situational ethicist believes that laws are for the benefit of the people.

The six fundamental principles

First proposition
    Only one thing is intrinsically good; namely love: nothing else at all. Fletcher (1963, pg56)
Second proposition
    The ruling norm of Christian decision is love: nothing else. Fletcher (1963, pg69)
Third proposition
    Love and Justice are the same, for justice is love distributed, nothing else. Fletcher (1963, pg87)
    Justice is Christian love using its head, calculating its duties, obligations, opportunities, resources... Justice is love coping with situations where distribution is called for. Fletcher (1963, pg95)
Fourth proposition
    Love wills the neighbour's good, whether we like him or not. Fletcher (1963, pg103)
Fifth proposition
    Only the end justifies the means, nothing else. Fletcher (1963, pg120)
Sixth proposition
    Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively. Fletcher (1963, pg134)

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