Moral relativism and social capital

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Where did the "there is no universal moral law" meme come from?

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Moral relativism and social capital

  1. 1. Do right and wrong exist?<br />Or are they just preferences, like preferring chocolate ice cream?<br />
  2. 2. What is right or wrong<br />is up to each individual person<br />to decide<br />
  3. 3. Is this right?<br />
  4. 4. or wrong?<br />
  5. 5. the same idea <br />can be expressed <br />this way:<br />
  6. 6. There are no universal moral laws<br />
  7. 7. BUT<br />
  8. 8. “There are no universal moral laws”<br />IS <br />a universal moral law<br />
  9. 9. The “law of noncontradiction” is the most fundamental law<br />of rationality<br />
  10. 10. a statement cannot be both true and not true <br />at the same time<br />
  11. 11. “What is right or wrong<br />is up to each individual person<br />to decide”<br />is an ethical position called <br />“moral relativism”<br />
  12. 12. it is not any more self-evident<br />
  13. 13. than other <br />ethical positions<br />
  14. 14. such as<br />natural law philosophies:<br />
  15. 15. People perceive injustice naturally <br />
  16. 16. And these perceptions <br />are very similar <br />in different cultures:<br />
  17. 17. There is a <br />universal moral law <br />written<br />in the human heart<br />
  18. 18. It is wrong<br />To betray a friend<br />
  19. 19. It is wrong<br />To harm the innocent<br />
  20. 20. It is right<br />To help the poor<br />
  21. 21. It is right<br />To show mercy<br />
  22. 22. Many major moral philosophers<br />have believed some version of<br />Natural Law<br />Morality<br />
  23. 23. One reason they reject<br />moral relativism<br />is that it leads to conclusions<br />
  24. 24. That are<br />repugnant<br />to reason<br />
  25. 25. If moral relativism<br />is true, <br />there is no rational way <br />to choose<br />
  26. 26. between<br />Barnes<br />or<br />Elias<br />(in Platoon)<br />
  27. 27. If moral relativism<br />is true, <br />there is no rational way <br />to choose<br />
  28. 28. between<br />Adolph Hitler<br />or<br />Mother Theresa<br />
  29. 29. If moral relativism<br />is true, <br />there is no rational way <br />to choose<br />
  30. 30. between<br />Rachel Scott<br />or<br />those who killed her at Columbine<br />
  31. 31. If moral relativism<br />is true, <br />
  32. 32. reason<br />fails<br />
  33. 33. If reason<br />fails<br />
  34. 34. there cannot be<br />justice<br />
  35. 35. SO,<br />
  36. 36. If moral relativism is not <br />self-evident<br />
  37. 37. And if moral relativism<br />is notstrongly Supported<br />by<br />Reason<br />(Moral Philosophy)<br />
  38. 38. How did<br />moral relativism<br />
  39. 39. become so widespread<br />in America?<br />
  40. 40. Why do so many <br />young people <br />repeat slogans<br />from <br />moral relativism<br />as though they are<br />obvious truths?<br />
  41. 41. This is a<br />Historical<br />Question<br />(rather than a moral or a philosophical one)<br />
  42. 42. moral relativism<br />was advocated by<br />cultural critics<br />
  43. 43. inspired by <br />Marxist philosophy:<br />
  44. 44. the “New Leftists”<br />(during the 1960s)<br />
  45. 45. After the sixties, <br />New Left intellectuals<br />went on to influential positions<br />in universities<br />& the media<br />
  46. 46. “Demoralizing” America<br />Was a step preparing people<br />to accept<br />the secular state as the source of all values<br />
  47. 47. Karl Marx believed there were no<br />universal moral codes<br />Ethics were relative <br />to the economic situations <br />of each individual society <br />
  48. 48. How has America<br />Changed<br />Since the 1960s?<br />
  49. 49. One of the most influential works of sociology<br />in recent years is<br />Bowling Alone<br />By Robert Putnam<br />
  50. 50. His thesis is that America<br />has undergone a dramatic loss of “social capital”<br />
  51. 51. Social Capital<br />Includes forms of <br />Community<br />and <br />relationship<br />that are as important<br /> as money<br />
  52. 52. The title, “Bowling Alone”<br />Comes from his data:<br />Since the 1960s, league bowling has undergone a dramatic decline.<br />
  53. 53. “social capital”<br />
  54. 54. Membership in bowling leagues peaked in the mid-1960s.<br />“social capital”<br />
  55. 55. What was more significant: <br />many<br />measures of community began to decline in the 1960s<br />
  56. 56. Voluntary Club Meeting Attendance<br />His thesis is that America<br />has undergone a dramatic loss of “social capital”<br />
  57. 57. Charitable Giving<br />His thesis is that America<br />has undergone a dramatic loss of “social capital”<br />
  58. 58. Trust: Can Most People Be Trusted?<br />His thesis is that America<br />has undergone a dramatic loss of “social capital”<br />
  59. 59. other measures<br />of the well being of <br />society<br />have gone up<br />
  60. 60. Greed Among College Freshmen, 1966-1978<br />Other measure<br />of the well being of <br />society<br />Have gone up<br />
  61. 61. Crime: Hiring of police and guards<br />Other measure<br />of the well being of <br />society<br />Have gone up<br />
  62. 62. Is society<br />getting better?<br />
  63. 63. or worse?<br />
  64. 64. From the viewpoint<br />of<br />moral relativism<br />
  65. 65. the question has no meaning<br />

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