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Flashcards in Situation Ethics Deck (41)
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Define 'justice'

Referring to notions of fair distribution of benefits for all


Define 'pragmatism'

Acting in moral situations in a way that is practical rather than ideological


Define 'relativism'

The rejection of absolute moral standards such as laws or rights, good and bad are relative to an individual or a community (Fletcher believes this is to act in love)


Define 'positivism'

Proposes something as true or good without demonstrating it, Fletcher posits love as good


Define 'personalism'

Ethics centred on people rather than laws or objects


Define 'conscience'

May be used variously to refer to a faculty in us, a process of moral decision making, insights from God or psychologically. Fletcher describes it as a function


Define 'teleological ethics'

Moral goodness determined by the end result


Define 'legalistic ethics'

Law based moral decision making


Define 'antinomian ethics'

Ethics which doesn't recognise the role of the law in moral decision making


Define 'situational ethics'

Ethics focused on the situation rather than the fixed rules


Define 'agape love'

Unconditional love which is the only ethical norm in situation ethics


Define 'extrinsically good'

Good defined with reference to the end rather than the good in and of itself (Fletcher argued love is intrinsically good)


Where in the Bible does Situation ethics get its roots from?

New Testament references to Jesus setting aside the law or breaking established rules


Who was Joseph Fletcher?

Ordained priest and American academic who taught Christian and medical ethics


What are Fletcher's three basic kinds of moral thinking categories?

Legalistic, antinomian and situational


Describe Fletcher's ideas of legalistic ethics

Set of predefined rules to direct behaviour e.g. Pharisaic Judaism has a law based approach to life based on the Halakha which is a collection of traditional written and spoken law on all aspects of life


Describe Aquinas' take on legalistic ethics

He founded the precepts but believed they were discoverable in nature and not human ordinations


What is the potential downside to legalistic ethics leading Fletcher to reject them?

Laws have to accumulate to cover all eventualities and so a legist must continually update a 'web of laws' found in Catholicism, Protestant Christianity and Judaism


Describe Fletcher's approach to antinomian ethics

Reverse of legalistic ethics without rule, law or principles so each moral decision is unique


Why was Fletcher critical of antinomian ethics?

"Literally unprincipled... no forecastable course... exactly anarchic"


Describe Fletcher's approach to situational ethics

Moral dilemma is approached by ethical rules by their community or tradition but rules can be set aside to act in love as a more beneficial approach but reason is the instrument of moral decision making
Hypothetical about what best serves love


Give a quote from Fletcher describe situation ethics

"The situationist follows a moral law or violates it according to love's need"


Describe the beliefs of Rudolf Bultmann

Argued against the idea that Jesus sought to establish some new ethical ideology


Describe the beliefs of Karl Barth

Not opposed to the idea of morally bad actions as it could be a chance that it would be right to break a moral law


Describe the beliefs of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Determining the will of God is based on the need of the neighbour and the model of Jesus and so he was also situationalist


Where in the Bible is agape love referenced?

Matthew 12:30-31 in the commandment to love thy neighbour


Give a quote from Paul Tillich on agape love

"The law of love is the ultimate law because it is the negation of law"


Give a quote from Bishop John Robinson

"There is no one ethical system that can claim to be Christian"


What is the first proposition?

Only love is intrinsically good because it is the only thing good in and of itself, actions aren't good or evil, they form part of a chain of cause and effect and are good or bad depending on the result so they are extrinsically good or bad


What is the second proposition?

The ruling norm of Christian decision is love e.g. Jesus broke the rules to work on the Sabbath e.g. immoral killing is immoral but killing in self defence is moral