Ethical decision making
Fletcher suggests that the three alternatives to consider when making ethical decisions are: legalism, antinomianism and situationism. With legalism one enters decision making with preset principles and rules or directives to be followed. Antinomianism opposes legalism in that one enters decision making without any principles or maxims. Situationism is a neutral point in the two approaches where one views rules and principles as illuminators that informs on what should be considered when making a decision (Kovach, 2010).
Henry Miller says that legalism demonstrates ‘immorality of morality’. This means that legalists providing or setting rules on how rules should be broken
Legalism is a route of decision making in which a person uses a set of prefabricated rules and principles to provide solutions to a situation.
According to Fletcher, principles and codes of legalism are not guidelines to direct decision making but directives to be followed to the letter. Solutions to situations are already spelled out for one to infer during decision making. The code of law broadens due to complications in problems that lead to making compromise law hence providing rules for breaking the rules.
Antinomianism is the process of decision making where one has no consideration of any principles or preset rules when dealing with situations.
In Fletcher’s view, antinomianism prompts one to rely only on the situation at hand to make an ethical decision. It is so flatly opposed to law that decisions are spontaneous, unpredictable and erratic. The decisions are completely unprincipled, anarchic and intellectually unaccountable.
- In situationism, one enters decision making with full consideration and respect for their cultural laws and principles as a guideline to inform on what decisions to make.
- The one binding and unexceptional rule for a Christian situationist loves God in ones neighbor.
- According to Fletcher, ‘Only love and reason count when the chips are down.’
- In Fletcher’s opinion, Situationism proceeds from agape love to Sophia which is wisdom of religion and culture and to Kairos. This is the moment of decision making process (Kovach, 2010).
- Fletcher says that legalists idolize Sophia; antinomianists repudiate it while situationists utilize it.
Kovach, F. J. (2010). A Critical Evaluation of Fletcher’s Situation Ethics. Am. J. Juris., 15, 97.
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