World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Situated ethics

Article Id: WHEBN0000285967
Reproduction Date:

Title: Situated ethics  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ethical dilemma, Ethical decision, Applied ethics, Outline of ethics, Anthropological linguistics
Collection: Applied Ethics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Situated ethics

Situated ethics, often confused with situational ethics, is a view of applied ethics in which abstract standards from a culture or theory are considered to be far less important than the ongoing processes in which one is personally and physically involved, e.g. climate, ecosystem, etc. It is one of several theories of ethics within the philosophy of action.

There are also situated theories of economics, e.g. most green economics, and of knowledge, usually based on some situated ethics. All emphasize the actual physical, geographical, ecological and infrastructural state the actor is in, which determines that actor's actions or range of actions - all deny that there is any one point of view from which to apply standards of or by authority. This makes such theories unpopular with authority, and popular with those who advocate political decentralisation.


  • Embodiment 1
  • References 2
  • References 3
  • See also 4


Humans pass through Kohlberg/Gilligan's stages of moral development.[1] Up to stage 3 (Conventional morality:Good Interpersonal Relationships), these stages are compatible with embodiment. Most philosophy of law emphasizes that the fact that bodies take risk to enforce laws, make laws embodied at least to the degree they are enforced.

However, the stages become problematic when Lawrence Kohlberg posits a universal ethics - that is, a disembodied ethic. All ethical decisions are necessarily situated in a world. Carol Gilligan's view is closer to an embodied view and emphasizes ethical relationships - necessarily between bodies - over universal ethical principles that require a "God's Eye view". Some ethicists emphasize the role of the ethicist to sort out right versus right in a given context. This is stage 4 but assumes that the ethicist is hesitant to damage relationships or violate principles, e.g. that survival or human rights take precedence over property rights.


  1. ^ Kohlberg, L. (1984). The Psychology of Moral Development: The Nature and Validity of Moral Stages in Essays on Moral Development, Volume 2. Harper & Row. 


Helen Simons Robin Usher (2000) Situated Ethics in Educational Research (ISBN 0-415-20666-9)

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.