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Questions on Situational Ethics

             Do you subscribe to the notion of "situational ethics?" Explain why or why not.
             Joseph Fletcher, identified as the "Father of Situation Ethics", defines situational ethics as a system of ethics by which acts are judged within their contexts instead of by categorical principles (Situation Ethics, p. 30). His book Situation Ethics is used as a model for the Situation Ethics and all most researchers refer to Fletcher's model. I subscribe to the notion of "situational ethics" because I believe that decision-making should be based upon the circumstances of each situation. For example, laws are written with the purpose to protect society and need to be enforced but the circumstances of each situation need to be evaluated when enforcing laws. A rape victim that shoots and kills her assailant in order to stop the assault should not be prosecuted for murder. .
             A research article I found, the Influence of Situational Ethics on Cheating Among College Students (McCabe, 1992) addresses how college justify cheating utilizing situational ethics. The students cheated by copying other people's work on papers and tests, helping someone cheat on a test, fabrication of bibliographies, and using unfair methods to learn the content of a test ahead of time. The college students justified their cheating with denial of responsibility, injury, victimless, and condemnation of condemners. Denial of responsibility many students cited unreasonable workload and the difficulty of keeping up as ample justification (p.369). Denial injury responses included that cheating does not really cause great harm. Victimless comments viewed cheating as a form of rightful retaliation or punishment (p. 370). Student invoking the rational of condemnation of condemners responded that the instructors were uncaring and unprofessional with negative attitudes that were negligent in their behavior. The research made it clear those college students' employed varied excuses addressing their situation to justify cheating but in this circumstance, it should not prevent from the consequences of being a participant in academic dishonesty.

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