Explain the Approach of Situation Ethics to Moral Decision Making

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January 2010
Explain the approach of Situation Ethics to moral decision making. (35)

Situation ethics is a teleological approach to ethics based on the teachings of American Theologian Joseph Fletcher who thought it was unwise to follow fixed rules as it does not take the whole situation into account. It contrasts to the Roman Catholic Churches teaching of Natural Law where rules about right and wrong are deducted from the perceived divine purpose for individual acts and objects. Situation ethics is based on four working principles pragmatism, relativism, positivism and personalism. The first principle is pragmatism which is the practical action to bring about the most loving end. His second principle is relativism meaning that there is no fixed rules in regards to moral decision making. He also believed in positivism, this is when people freely choose their faith and believed that since the Christian God is a personal God that morality should be more compassionate and person-centred. His final working principle is personalism which is the belief of that people are more important than rules which is based on jesus' teaching of 'People before rules' which he always followed and taught throughout his life. These four working principles guide people in making important moral decisions in their life. Along with these four working principles there are also six fundamental principles that Joseph Fletcher teaches that guide people who follow situation ethics when making moral decisions in their lives. He believed that love was the only thing that is intrinsically good meaning that the criteria by which actions can be judged rest solely on this principle showing that all decisions must only be made out of love and that any action can be judges as good if they are helping human beings and bad if they do not. He believed that the ruling norm of christian decision is love showing that situation ethics is universal as you can also use situation ethics for decision...
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