Outline the Key Features of Situation Ethics.

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Situation ethics is a Christian approach in dealing with ethical problems and moral choices. Joseph Fletcher, who published his theory in his book ‘Situation Ethics’ in 1966, primarily developed the theory. The theory is teleological due to its belief that actions have no intrinsic value. Instead, the theory focuses on one intrinsic good, agape, the Greek word for self-sacrificial, impersonal love. Agape is believed to love as God loves and Fletcher described it as ‘an attitude not a feeling’, therefore separating it from all other forms of love. During the 1960s as society was developing, it became increasing secular. This was a great shift from the comparatively religious, illiberal 1950s. This change in society coincided with the religious and philosophical change. The roots of the theory lie in existentialism, the 19th century philosophical idea that existence precedes essence. This means that our essence is in no way predetermined and we are free to form who we are. We are therefore responsible for shaping are lives through the decisions we make. Existentialists advised that we ought to focus on the present and the choices we currently face rather than looking into the future. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was one of the early founders of existentialism. Although Kierkegaard was a devout Christian, he rejected the Christian Church due to its legalistic nature and the false relationship that people were receiving with God as a result. Kierkegaard believed that the key relationship of an individual was with God. He argued that God has given people freedom to make their own decisions and therefore our decisions are not determined. He thought that our existence is not something determined rationally or part of an on-going process but that it is something specific which is created through the choices we make. Kierkegaard put emphasis on his belief
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