Chapter 2: Ethical Relativism

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Intro Ethics: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: Ethical Relativism

  1. 1. Chapter Two Ethical Relativism <ul><li>Ethical Relativism holds that there are no universally valid moral principles, but rather all moral principles are valid relative to culture or individual choice. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Moral Skepticism <ul><li>The view that there are no valid moral principles at all </li></ul><ul><li>At least we cannot know whether there are any or not </li></ul>
  3. 3. Moral Objectivism <ul><li>The view that there are universal moral principles, valid for all people and all situations and times. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Absolutism <ul><li>The notion that there is only one correct answer to every moral problem. </li></ul><ul><li>A completely absolutist ethic consists of absolute principles that provide an answer for every possible situation in life, regardless of culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Absolutism is opposed to Ethical Relativism. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ethical Nihilism <ul><li>The doctrine that holds that there are no valid moral principles that exist. </li></ul><ul><li>Morality is a complete fiction. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Diversity Thesis <ul><li>Anthropological theory that states that moral rules differ from society to society. </li></ul><ul><li>It is associated with cultural relativism. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Dependency Thesis <ul><li>Individual acts are right or wrong depending on the nature of the society in which the occur. </li></ul><ul><li>Morality does not exist in a vacuum. </li></ul><ul><li>Morality must be seen in the context that depends on the wants, goals, beliefs, history, and environment of the society. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Subjectivism <ul><li>Also known as Subjective Ethical Relativism </li></ul><ul><li>Morality depends not on society, but rather on the individual. </li></ul><ul><li>Morality is like taste or aesthetic judgment. </li></ul><ul><li>Morality is in the eye of the beholder. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Conventionalism <ul><li>This view states that there are no objective moral principles, but that all valid moral principles are justified by virtue of their cultural acceptance. </li></ul><ul><li>This view recognizes the social nature of morality. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Critique of Ethical Relativism <ul><li>Cultural relativism seems to be a fact, but does not establish the truth of ethical relativism. </li></ul><ul><li>Beliefs, history and environment change in any society over time. </li></ul><ul><li>If moral principles are weakly dependent, does that make them invalid? </li></ul><ul><li>Indeterminacy of translation </li></ul>

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