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  • 1. Criminal Justice 2011Class Name,Instructor NameDate, SemesterChapter 4:Is Morality Relative?The Variability ofNorms and Values
  • 2. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedOBJECTIVISM & UNIVERSALISMIN ETHICS• Relativism• Ethical Objectivism- Act is inherently wrong or evil• Ethical Universalism- knowledge should be applied toeveryone in every similar situation- i.e., there are objective moral principlesand that such principles can and shouldbe applied equally to everyone2
  • 3. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedLAW VIOLATIONS• Mala en se• Mala prohibita• Local ordinance violations• Traffic infractions3
  • 4. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedSTATUTES BASED ON TWOTYPES OF CRIMESMala in seCrimes wrong in themselvesPart I crimes of the UCRMala prohibitaCrimes defined as wrong because they are prohibitedvictimless crimesNon-criminalInfractionsCity ordinances4
  • 5. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedCONTEMPORARY ETHICAL RELATIVISM• Descriptive and prescriptive relativism• Normative or prescriptive relativism5
  • 6. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedDEFENSIBLE VIOLENCEBlood feuds• Most cultures lacking formal criminal justice systemsand lawsIslamic law – honor killings• Is there any way to objectively state that traditions ofvendetta are morally wrong?• Can we argue that retaliatory killings by familymembers of victims are defensible killings?• Is the United States system to resolve conflictssuperior? Why?6
  • 7. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedTHREE POINTS OF RELATIVISM• There is no objective sense of moral right andwrong• Morality differs from culture to culture• Therefore, we should not judge the beliefsand practices of other cultures7
  • 8. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedPRAGMATIC MORALITY• Protagoras – the “father” of what we nowrefer to as relativism. “Man is the measure ofall things . . .”• Pragmatism to allow us to more effectivelyand/or comfortably live our lives• We should understand the practicality andfunctionality (effectiveness) of practices andbeliefs8
  • 9. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedTHE VALUE OF RELATIVISM• Ethnocentrism - perception of the world fromthe perspective of one’s own culture or socialgroup; Can lead to:• Dogmatism and intolerance• Dogma - a belief or belief system that is heldunquestioningly and with absolute certainty• Dogmatism refers to the refusal to entertaincriticisms of or challenges to those beliefs9
  • 10. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedRELATIVITY LAWFUL & UNLAWFUL THINGS• ProstitutionNevada vs. other states• Comstock Actcontraceptives as obscene material andplaced regulations on their distribution10
  • 11. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedRELATIVISM ANDTHE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM• Harm Principle• Paternalism• Legal Moralism• Offense Principle11
  • 12. © 2012 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedRELATIVISM, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, &MORALITY OF CRIMINAL LAW• The Harm Principlejustifications for the prohibition of certain types ofbehavior• PaternalismWhen governments seek to protect citizens fromthemselves• Legal MoralismGovernments are justified in prohibiting behaviorthat is immoral• Offensive ConductBehavior can be legitimately prohibited if itseriously offends others12

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