Situational ethics

From Academic Kids

Situational ethics refers to a particular view of ethics, in which absolute standards are considered less important than the requirements of a particular situation. The standards used may, therefore, vary from one situation to another, and may even contradict one another. This view of ethics is similar to moral relativism, and is contradictory to moral universalism, and moral absolutism.

The term situational ethics has been broadened to include numerous situations in which a code of ethics is designed to suit the needs of the situation.

The original situational ethics theory was developed by Joseph Fletcher, an Episcopal priest, in the 1960s. Based on the concept that the only thing with intrinsic value is Love (specifically agape), Fletcher advocated a number of controversial courses of action.

Opponents are usually moral universalists who view situational ethics, in its purest sense, as inherently contradictory, and argue that the very term "situational ethics" is an oxymoron. They argue that ethics and morality are fundamental and cannot be based on practical, functional, or ethno-centric values; therefore, ethics must be based on something more persistent than one group's assessment of their current situation.

Situated ethics is an entirely different theory in which it is the actual physical, geographical, ecological and infrastructural state one is in, determines ones actions or range of actions - green economics is at least partially based on that view. It, too, is criticized for lack of a single geographically-neutral point of view from which to apply standards of or by an authority.

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