Compare and Contrast two ethical theories.

2170 Words Dec 6th, 2005 9 Pages
In this essay I have chosen to compare two opposing theories, Immanuel Kant 's absolutist deontological ethics and Joseph Fletchers relativist situation ethics. The deontological ethics focuses on actions made according to duty and the categorical imperative - which shows how acts are intrinsically good or bad. The situation ethics state that no act is intrinsically good or bad, and that actions should b made according to love. From this perspective it looks as thought Kant 's views were less personal than Fletcher 's, although in actuality both focus on the best outcome for humans.

Deontological ethics is concerned with actions, not consequences. To act with good intention but have a bad outcome is still moral. Similarly if the intention
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Fletcher believed that there are three types of ethical theories; legalistic ethics, antinomian ethics and situation ethics. Deontology would be considered legalistic as it uses moral law as a set of prefabricated rules - much like in Christian traditions, which focus on natural moral law and the commandments from the bible. According to Fletcher this would lead to problem s when life 's difficulties require additional laws. To explain this he used an example of murder once murder has been prohibited - one has to clarify the meaning in relation to killing in self defence, abortion, killing in war, euthanasia and so on. A legalist would have to accommodate them. Fletcher rejected this as it can create confusion - there would be too many rules to learn.

Antinomian ethics is the direct opposite of legalistic ethics. All decisions are made spontaneously as if every situation was unique. There are no ethical rules - antinomian meaning 'against law '.

"it is literally unprincipled, purely ad hoc and casual. They are exactly, anarchic -i.e. without a rule."

Fletcher (1963).

Fletcher was equally critical of antinomianism as there is on structure to it.

The third approach to ethics is situational ethics. This approach seems to be a compromise between legalistic and antinomian views as a situationist follows the rules of society, but will set them aside if love seems better served by doing so.

"the situationist follows a moral law or
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