Brief and detail

If relativism is true, can you ever judge something as being morally wrong? Consider some really horrible actions,  genocide, murder, slavery, torture or add your own. If you feel a relativist could say that these things are actually wrong, what gives them this ability? If they can’t, why not?

Agree or disagree

Similarly to what I said in the first discussion on what morality means to us, I think everyone has their own set of moral principles and obligations. So I do think that relativism is true, to a point however. I used Adolf Hitler and the Nazi empire as an example in the first discussion so I will use that here. Hitler knew in his brain that what he was doing was good for his nation and arguably the world. Now, as a modern day society we can agree that was wrong. For him, it was good. In his own mind, he is right. But it is relative to the person. Generally speaking we all have similar notions of what is right and what is wrong. Most people would say that going out of your way to help someone else is a morally good principle. Selflessness in society is seen a good thing by the vast majority of people. When I say that relativism is good to a point, I mean that there is a general basis in society that deems actions as good or bad. And since most of us would all agree that hitlers actions were bad, then we say that he had bad moral principles, even though to him, they were good. It’s a little confusing even for me to put into words. Basically, if you actions are generally viewed in society as good, then you have good moral principles even if they vary from person to person. No one will have the exact same moral standards, but generally they all are very similar in society. So relativism is true until the point where the majority of society would deem your actions and wrong. I hope this makes sense.

Agree or disagree

If relativism is true, I don’t think judging something as morally wrong is possible. Because the definition of ethical relativism is the moral standard only being correctly relative to each person/society, this means that the moral standard is created by you and/or the society you identify with and therefore eliminate the existence of an absolute moral principle. Since the moral standard is different for every individual, we cannot say that someone is morally wrong. If relativism is applied, that is. If a relativist were to say that they could judge someone as morally wrong, then that would contradict the main component of being a relativist. That every moral argument of yours is correct, therefore everyone else’s is also correct. Quite problematic but that is my understanding on the matter

Question 2

  1. What is the difference between cultural relativism and ethical subjectivism? What makes both theories different from ethical objectivism?
  2. In what way does ethical subjectivism make us unable to make moral mistakes? Is this an advantage or a disadvantage of the theory?
  3. Can ethical relativism make sense of the idea of moral progress? In your opinion, does moral progress really exist? Explain.
  4. If two cultures can have the same moral rules does this support or contradict moral relativism? Explain  response.


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