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January 2013 Utilitarianism Question


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1) January 2013 Examine the defining characteristics of Situation Ethics (21)
Situation ethics is an ethical theory pioneered by Joseph Fletcher in the 1960's, a time in which society and the church were facing drastic change. It is an idealistic, teleological, consequentialist theory that resolves ethical and moral issues relative to the situation. In contrast to utilitarianism, Situation ethics is based on Christian principles and primarily the promotion of agape. Fletcher's liberal, less rule based theory is based on one absolute law, which when applied properly, handles every situation. Subsequently, Fletcher rejects the deontological view of 'right and wrong' decisions in a situation and believes that ethical decisions should follow flexible guidelines rather than absolute rules.
Situation ethics developed in the 1960's, a time of social, cultural and moral change in the Western countries. After the Second World War, the post war generation threw off the shackles of paternalism, authority plus the law and government. Sexual liberation advanced as methods of contraception became freely available and more reliable. The introduction of the contraceptive pill allowed women to express their new individualism and freedom. Many people began to turn away from the church and blamed factors such as "Greater independence; more money.the weakening of family bonds and religious influences; the development of earlier maturity, physically, emotionally and mentally; the impact of modern books, television and periodicals" (Sex and Morality, SCM). The world was becoming more secular and Fletcher's theory attempted to divert such secularism. Situation ethics moved with the times hence its popularity and success. The theory did not conform to traditional Christian beliefs that people should abide by a set of entrenched rules however advised people to act according to each

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