Situation Ethics Essay
One of the most controversial topics in ethics is called situational ethics. Basically, situation ethics is a doctrine in ethics that is based on the belief that our moral code “should be based on a case-to-case basis.” What makes this doctrine controversial is that more people subscribe to the opposite idea in which morality should be absolute and withstanding despite any other factors that come into play.
In contrast with the laws established in any particular land or country, the ethics (which is how people subscribe and abide by those laws) are pre-established and are supposed to be absolute regardless of anything that happens. This is especially the case for the earliest establishment of the law and law enforcement, where anyone who goes beyond or outside the rules is not only considered ‘unethical’ but also sanctioned. However, as societies grow and change, they become open to new ideas which include the concept of openness to fresh perspectives. This is the reason why today’s laws include sub-clauses that give a little flexibility to anything that might happen, and anyone who would break the law must also prove that these exceptions (as dedicated by the law) have indeed happened.
Nevertheless, the law and the ethics that come with it today still remain absolute. This makes it more similar to situational ethics in that it has more flexibility despite the fact that it is not entirely on a case-to-case basis just as what situational ethics stands for. Rather, the rule of law just includes what it thinks are all the possible solutions. However, there is an issue which the situations that might arise and which are not included in the coded law. This is another argument of those people who argue that situational ethics should prevail over these circumstances. A move that would consider the situation more rather than what the society prescribes based on statements written on a piece of paper.
Aside from what has already stated above, situation ethics does not contradict the coded law which is at the societal level. Just as how it contradicts these societal constructs, situational ethics might also appear in resistance to our own personal belief systems. As we all know, our personal belief systems are based on our own culture and society which dictates what we should believe in. On a deeper level, these societal norms mold us more than the things and ideas that we can put into words.
And, as people with these different personal beliefs clash with each other (e.g. people with a different religion) ethics based on the coded rules of each might fail to show who’s right, or at least resolve the conflict between these entities of different mindsets. This is another place where situational ethics could thrive. A place where different beliefs, that suggests different codes of ethics, crash into each other and creates anomie, or a phenomenon with the lack of social or ethical standards within a group of people. By using situational ethics (e.g. respect for other people’s culture) in a place where cultural-based ethics (e.g. differences of the meaning of particular gestures) clashes with one another, every other person could thrive and live peacefully with one another.
Overall, it could be summarized from all the points stated above, that in most places different ethics (regional-based/constitutional) are determined by their own culture, mindset, and upbringing. However, as these differences meet and clash with each other, conflicts might arise. Therefore, in these conflicts, situational ethics can prove to be the best alternative in order for everyone to consolidate, reach a conclusion, and live together peacefully despite any and all differences that they have.