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Philosophy & Religious Studies   >   Situation Ethics

Situation Ethics

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Situation Ethics

In this course, Dr Iain Law (University of Birmingham) explores Joseph Fletcher’s Situation Ethics. In the first module, we introduce the context in which Fletcher was writing, and the church’s response to what they dubbed the ‘new morality’. In the second lecture, we investigate two of the working principles of situation ethics: pragmatism and relativism. In the third module we move to look at two further working principles: positivism and personalism. In the remaining modules, we look at Fletcher’s six propositions. In the fourth module, we examine love as an intrinsic good, and the role of love in Christian moral decision making. In the fifth module, we look at Fletcher’s views on love as justice, and compare and contrast his views with utilitarianism. In the sixth module, we unpack the term ‘agapē’ and its role in moral decision making in situation ethics. Finally, in the seventh module, we look at Fletcher’s situationism with special reference to his final two propositions.

Situation Ethics

In this module, we introduce situation ethics, and the context in which Fletcher was writing, focusing in particular on (i) the historical background to situation ethics, its place in broader theological tradition (ii) the church’s view on the ‘New Morality’ in Fletcher’s time (iii) three approaches to ethics identified by Fletcher (iv) the situation ethicist’s objections to legalism (v) the varieties of antinomianism (vi) Fletcher’s objection to the conflation of existentialist antinomianism with situation ethics (vii) situation ethics as a middle way between legalism and antinomianism (viii) loving God and loving your neighbour as the guiding principle of Christian situation ethics.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Law, I. (2022, December 09). Situation Ethics - Situation Ethics [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Law, I. "Situation Ethics – Situation Ethics." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Dec 2022,


Dr Iain Law

Dr Iain Law

Birmingham University