situation ethics

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The view that ethical judgement applies to whole situations, rather as aesthetic judgement is formed in response to total works of art. Any attempt to abstract features in virtue of which situations merit a judgement, and then to argue about new cases in the light of those features, is potentially misleading; for a feature may contribute to the value of one situation, but be irrelevant in another, just as a particular splash of colour might be just what one picture needs, but be inappropriate in another. The principal difficulty in front of this view is that ethics is not just a matter of responding to existing situations, but is essentially a practical subject, in which future options have to be ranked in the light of different features. See also contextualism.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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