Religious ethics part 2

opticlops's version from 2015-04-12 15:21

Situation ethics

Question Answer
Where can its origins be traced to?Origins can be traced to Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430) who said “Love and do what you will”
What should christian action be guided by? Christian action in world should be guided by impulse of love which comes from aligning individual will with that of God
What did Joseph Fletcher say about love?Only one thing is intrinsically good, namely love, and nothing else at all
How do Xtians make decisions?The ruling norm of Christian decision making is love, and nothing else c.f. Jesus & Paul
How are love and justice linked?Love and justice are the same since justice is love distributed – love at work in the community
Jill Oliphant quote on love"Love wills the neighbour's good, whether we like them or not"
What justifies the means?Only the end, and nothing else, justifies the means. The end is love.
How are love's decisions made?Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively i.e. they are worked out anew in each particular situation and not based on already established rules.
What did Fletcher acknowledge similarities between?Sit Ethics and Utilitarianism

Why was a sit ethic needed?

Question Answer
What did fletcher want to do?steer a mid-course between antinomianism and legalism
What major belief is there?that people more important than principles: moral rules and principles ignore the individuality of people and force them into artificial moulds.
What was it a reaction to?Kantian idea that morality essentially about duty.
What does Sit ethics see duty assees duty as restricted concept: says that love prompts a person to go well beyond the bounds of duty.
What does "Works of superogation" refer to?refers to actions which we cannot insist upon but which we nevertheless highly esteem and praise.
What do situations do?Situations change. Moral rules can eventually become outdated.
What did Fletcher believe it was better to do?better to adhere to one simple guiding principle which could be applied in any number of different situations.
Basic ruleAlways do the most loving thing possible!

Crit of situation ethics

Question Answer
Despite individuals being unique, what do we need to recognise?Individuals are unique but from the moral point of view, important to recognise what they have in common. Many diffs between individuals not morally significant e.g. colour, intelligence, strength.
What should the presumption be?Presumption should be that all are to be treated in the same way unless the differences between them are such as to justify different treatment. (A mentally handicapped adult who steals may legitimately be treated differently from a fully competent adult.)
What must love do to not degenerate into who you like?If love is not to degenerate into being simply a matter of liking or preference for someone then it must recognise the claims of equality.
Why is it not viable today?Sit Ethics not viable today as it is too individualistic for connected global village in which we must function. Present need is for a global ethic, focusing on what people have in common.
Just because rules change what doesn't it mean?Yes,rules may become outdated and need to be changed, but this does not necessarily mean that it would be better to be without rules altogether.
What will there always be?There may be occasional necessary exceptions BUT they will be exceptions to the rule.
What problem occurs with it being consequentialists?Situation ethics is a consequentialist system - concerned with the most loving possible end. Seems to suggest that any action which helped reach the end would be acceptable. HOWEVER are there not some actions which are so horrendous that they ought to ruled out altogether, whatever end they might achieve? E.g. the scenario in which the terrorist's child must be tortured in order to save 1000's.
What is there a degree of confusion about?ALSO there is also a degree of confusion about whether or not love is the 'end' or whether, as Augustine suggested, it is also the 'means' i.e., the 'how' of actions.
What can you conclude about love being a means?If love is also a means then it might be argued that an unloving means could never be used to justify a loving end.
What can you argue about love being a means?If love is also a means then it might be argued that Situation Ethics has aspects in common with deontological thinking on ethics

Relationship of love to justice

Question Answer
What has Xtian tradition always tried to do?Important to consider since Xian tradition has always tried to hold love & justice in balance
What is certain and uncertain about the relationship?Certain that love could not countenance injustice. But its exact relationship to justice is unclear.
What if justice insists on giving everyone what they deserve?If justice means that everyone receives what they deserve then there must be quite a gulf between love and justice. (This is because love insists on giving even to those who do not deserve)
What does it mean if justice means treating everyone according to their needsIf justice means that everyone is treated according to their needs then love and justice are closely connected

Major Problem

Question Answer
Misguided loveIf someone is trying to act in accord with the demands of love then they must exercise both wisdom and understanding. Love should always be directed that it might bring about good things for our neighbours BUT love can be misguided: a loving attitude does not necessarily lead to a loving act. •.
How do we answer ethical questionsLoving action must be determined primarily in terms of the needs of others. To answer the question, 'What ought I to do?' with the advice, 'Do what love bids you' is of no help at all. All the knotty ethical problems still have to be answered. An appeal to love does not bypass these issues
Determining the most loving thingIt is no simple matter to determine what is the most loving thing in any situation.

Xtian Crits

Question Answer
Not needed?Simply not needed since even most legalistic religious systems have allowed for exceptions
Surely we need a moral framework?Can people really be trusted to intuit what is right in each situation without a framework of (flexible) moral rules behind them?
What about the FallSit Ethics fails to take account of ‘fallen’ nature i.e. human sinfulness. Often, good conduct only happens due to restraints of law. Few will spontaneously do what is good all the time.

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