Nevertheless, society and cultures should not be relied on to indicate moral and immoral behavior because it is questionable to believe that our actions become moral just for the reason that our culture or society accepts them as normal. Despite the differences between The Divine Command Theory and Cultural Relativism, they both are theories that just fall short of their
Ethical egoism is a mistaken theory in that it leads to logical contradictions (Rachels p.87). If one were to protect one’s interest that would require one to prevent another from carrying out their duty to their self, it would be both right and wrong to do so. However that is not logical and self-contradictory, thus not would not be basing conduct on reason. To reiterate, the theory of ethical egoism states that one should put his or her own needs before others, this fails the second part of the minimum conception of morality. Furthermore in advocating that one treat others in differently when there are no factual differences is unjustifiable and makes this an arbitrary doctrine.
Similarly in the case of adopting subjectivism, as long as the person committing the action thought this action was morally permissible then that statement could not be made. If we adopted ethical nihilism, statements like this would not be able to have any truth value. Since ethical nihilism states that there are no correct answers whatsoever we could not state that something was wrong and give it a truth factor. In order to do this there must be some correct alternative but nihilism states there is no such
In either case, we do not have free will and hence should not be held morally responsible for our actions. However, the fault is this: it is unclear whether his idea of moral responsibility is the correct one as he fails to demonstrate this. This will therefore offset his argument, because of the possibility of many views of moral responsibility, which I will discuss
Not anyone can just decide that they are doing the moral thing. The moral thing is what is good. This means that not everyone will agree on what is moral or good. This calls for a set of rules that we do not influence. Moral truths are necessary to establish a sense of what is good.
To believe that cultural relativism cannot coexist with objective moral truths would be mistakenly oversimplifying what objective moral truths entail. Anthropological cultural relativism often shows there are moral differences “only in belief[s], not in substantive moral principle[s]” (102). As Pojman points out, “[m]orality does not occur in a vacuum … [it] must be seen in a context, depending on the goals, wants, beliefs, history, and environment of the society in question” (102). Through understanding that we cannot judge and then impose our beliefs onto other cultures based on our own, we can see indirect similarities between moral principles across cultures that would otherwise appear immoral. To use another point raised by Pojman, the debate between pro-choicers and pro-lifers is not about whether we should be morally allowed to kill people, it is about “whether fetuses are really persons … not the principle [emphasis added] of killing innocent people”
The idea of Categorical Imperatives, or universal duties is an unachievable ideal standard. After analyzing many different viewpoints, I have come to conclude that universal moral standards do not exist because it is impossible for everybody everywhere to believe in common ideas; the world’s cultures are far too diverse for this. Furthermore, to say that universal moral standards exist would imply that these moral standards transcend human existence, and apply to any rational creatures that exist anywhere in the universe. Although we do not know of any creatures to exist beyond the boundaries of earth, I think that it would be arrogant to say that any human moral standards would apply to these beings as well. In my opinion, the beliefs of different societies, or extra terrestrial beings, cannot be said to be “correct” or “incorrect” because this would imply that an objective ethical truth exists.
However, the formulation is quite different in that from a wide range of human habits, individual opinions drive the culture toward distinguishing normal “good” habits from abnormal “bad” habits. The takeaway is that both theories share the guiding principle that morality is bounded by culture or society. Implicit in the basic formulations for both theories, the moral code of a culture is neither superior nor inferior to any another. The codes of individual cultures are just different and there is no standard or basis upon which to perform any type of comparison. Therefore, under both theories, the lack of standards across cultures implies that attempts to judge relative correctness or incorrectness between them cannot be justified.
Kant argues that human reasoning is limited in its ability to provide an example of true morality. In his essay, he states that what humans perceive as good morals does not necessarily fit the conditions of what can be categorized as universal law of morality. Kant believes that people must hold morality not solely as an idea or set of exceptions but as an absolute idea (Kant 408). This absolute idea should be free of human rationalization in order to create a pure example. He believes this to be the case because within this form of rationalizing what is good from what is wrong there are often cases that stray away from true virtue such as human behavior.
Deontologists create concrete distinctions between what is moral right and wrong and use their morals as a guide when making choices. Deontologists generate restrictions against maximizing the good when it interferes with moral standards. Also, since deontologists place a high value on the individual, in some instances it is permissible not to maximize the good when it is detrimental to yourself. For example, one does not need to impoverish oneself to the point of worthlessness simply to satisfy one’s moral obligations. Deontology can be looked at as a generally flexible moral theory that allows for self-interpretation but like all others theories studied thus far, there are arguments one can make against its reasoning.