As level situation ethics essay. Watch

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Outline the key features of SE
Situation ethics is a teleological, relative ethical theory which is based on love. The theory uses motive and states that any rules can be bended if love is best served. Situation ethics is most commonly assioated with philosopher such as Jopseph Fletcher USA and JAT Robinson UK who developed it in the 1960s.

In the 20th century the USA & UK were facing some drastic changes which involved women occupying a place in the workforce, secularisation, Vietnam war, civil rights movement and hippy culture. People were moving away from the church (legalism) and more towards antonmianism. Society was doing more of what was ethically right and putting rules to a side.
Fletcher quoted a St Louis cab driver who said "sometimes you gotta put principles to one side and do what is right" this shows that it was a running trend on breaking the rules in order to get the best outcome of a situation.
Fletcher also has 3 approaches to his theory which are as follows; legalism which means you have to abide by the rules, antonmianism which means that you do what you please and situational which means you can bend the rules if love is best served.

Another feature of SE is based on agape which is a Greek term which means 'selfless love'. Fletcher stated that the rule of his theory was that agape love is essential and should be applied to every situation. He used the example of Jesus' quote in the New Testament which was "love thy neighbour" expressing that everyone should consider agape love before making decisions. Fletcher said that any laws can be bended for this law. Fletcher uses the term 'best interests' which relates into doing whatever will have the best outcome in any situation, the term also links in with Singers Utilitriansim which is preference Util. Both philisophers are looking for the best interests of everybody and not harming anyone.

Another attribute of SE are the 4 fundemental prepositions one of them is relativism which means that any laws can be broken in order to do what is right e.g. If a teenage girl was pregnant by getting raped she she could get rid of the baby without having to consider the baby as she is doing what is best for herself. Another preposition is positivism which means that love should be considered for every action e.g. You can lie (breaking a rule' in order to save ones life

Another feature of SE are the six working principles, one of them is that love is always good, a quote from Fletcher "nothing itself in or itself except love" this quote shows that love is harmless and if everyone considers love for one another there is no harm in life. Another principle is love is the only means which means that as the theory is telelogical and if love is the outcome the end justify the means e.g. If you have to break in to someone's house to save a loving one then it is right to do so.

Moreover , another feature of SE is unique situations. Fletcher studied unsolvable cases and applied fixed rules to them. If society had no rules then there would be chaos e.g. Murders, robbery etc. Fletcher linked these cases and based the, on the most loving thing to do. Fletcher used the example of a woman that commits adultery in order to return to her family. She broke the 1 of the 10 commandments of God wich is "thy shall not commit adultery" this emphasise Fletcher's view on how important love is and any rule should be bended if love is best served.


Some may say that the strengths outweighs the weakeness because the theory is simple and easy to understand therefore more people will be in favour of the theory because it seems accessible at the first sight. It's also common sense so more people will be in favour. However, some may say that situation ethics requires us to asses each situation individually and takes up to much time which is linking to Benthams Util difficulties. It is hard to isolate situation and also predicts the consequence.

Furthermore, another strength of SE is that it is based on the teachings of Jesus and St. Paul which is the commandment to love and as Fletcher is a Christian as is JAT Robinson it shows that doing the most loving thing won't cause any harm as love is harmless and looks for the best interests in every human.
In the other hand, a weakness of SE is that love and justice are not the same as love searches for not what people deserve put more on what people need and justice is what people deserve and therefore it makes it difficult to calculate how to serve love justly.

In conclusion, ultimately the weaknesses outweigh the strengths because situation ethics' biggest challenge is that important rules and laws that have been applied in order to make society safe can be broken e.g. The state of each country has set up certain rules in order to have justice served, in the UK if you murder someone you face the charges that the law has given and if important rules like do not murder are broken this results in a unjust society and extremely dangerous society. If love is the only rule then there is a huge loss in protection.

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