Ethical Relativism

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Ethical Relativism What is right and wrong is a widely opinionated discrepancy among the human race. It varies between cultures, societies, religion, traditions, and endless influential factors. Ethical relativism is described by John Ladd as the “doctrine that the moral rightness and wrongness of actions varies from society and that there are no absolute universal moral standards binding on all men at all times. Accordingly, it holds that whether or not it is right for an individual to act in a certain way depends on or is relative to the society to which he belongs”(Pojman, 24). Within the meaning of ethical relativism we can derive two theses; cultural relativism and the dependency thesis. Ethical relativism is a problematic theory because there are so many differences within cultures, and individual choices might not always be morally right choices. Because of this, what is culturally acceptable is not always morally right. Ethical relativism also has some objections towards the more specific theories of subjectivism and conventionalism. Ethical relativism is supported due to the narrowing view of ethnocentrism, which is causing great “prejudice tantamount to racism and sexism” (Pojman, 25). Society is moving away from their ethnocentric view of the world, and allowing for more diversity in what is culturally right and wrong. Moral positions are being based on what their society is following or sees as ideal norms. Because of this turn to what one’s society feels what is right and wrong there is skepticism on these universal princi... ... middle of paper ... ...e ideal if the world followed a set of universal morals in which everyone could agree upon, but in a realistic setting, everyone is different in either what they believe, or how culture has influenced them. Cultures have always differed in what is thought to be morally acceptable, and always will because of their ethnocentric view on different cultures. Ethical relativism will always be problematic because the world has trouble accepting new ideas, morals, and into their own culture, and with a universe becoming so culturally diverse and different it is hard for individuals to accept something different. Works Cited Plato. Republic. Trans. G.M.A. Grube. Revised by C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: 1992. Pojman, Louis P.. Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong. 4th ed. Toronto: Thomson Learning, 2002.
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