Is it all relative? Moral relativism is a widespread theory that can be used to explain the differences among cultures and their ethics and morals. Ruth Benedict describes relative morality as a concept based specifically on the ethics of a culture and how they are related to those of other cultures. He argues that many cultures are so contrasting when it comes to specific areas of culture and lifestyle that they cannot be unified under one universal moral code that governs all of humanity. Conversely however, James Rachels, author of Elements of Moral Philosophy, does not subscribe to the theory of moral relativism.
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.
To begin with, due to the moral codes are different from different cultures, relativist suggested at last that we should not judge other culture and what they do, which implies to all the people from different culture and believes, which means they all accept that judging other people is wrong. This point makes “tolerance” became a “universal truth” that individuals should all agree with and even relativist wanted people to follow it. Thus, it contradicts what they say about there is no “universal truth” that every one believes and follows. From the similar point, if we all think the culture is equal and there is no right or wrong either good or bad about any culture, why should we “tolerate” some cultures? From William’s point of view, if a culture think tolerance is wrong, from the standpoint that “ the culture is right for a given society” (William’s) is right to think tolerance is wrong.
Some people believe that morals are not universal and rather that the moral action depends on societal or individual opinions. It is obvious that people and societies have different beliefs on what is right and what is wrong, but does that change what is moral? Therefore, the question is: Are there any moral truths that remain constant regardless of opinions? Ethical Objectivism is based on the belief that there are moral truths of the universe that
Believing in cultural relativism means you can also not judge other cultures of what they think is right or wrong. Vaughn and Rachels give examples and evidence to support moral objectivism and I believe it is the better moral theory. I stated that one might be against objectivism because every culture has their own morals, and some cultures do not believe every individual should have the power to choose between what is right and what is wrong. Some cultures believe in relativism, where only they can decide their morals and can also not judge other cultures of their morals. Every one is going to judge different cultures morals, no matter what.
The whole premise of moral objectivism is factual and for someone to come in and say it’s wrong just because he thinks it is, can be and has been disagreed with. Mackie strongly believes that we cannot have knowledge of morality because of moral skepticism, or subjectivism. His belief that each culture has a different level of morality and that they all differ. This is seen as malarkey to many people. Objectivists believe that one culture cannot be more moral than another nor righter than another culture.
In today’s society many people believe that the practice of slavery is morally wrong. However, some philosophers, such as Gilbert Harman, believe that we cannot judge whether slavery is morally wrong or right by comparing it to our own morals. This form of ethics is called ethical relativism, which is the theory that holds morality is relative to the norms of one’s culture or society. Essentially, an action is deemed right or wrong based on the moral norms of the culture the person performing the action belongs to. This same action may be morally right in one society but be completely morally wrong in another society.
It is widely accepted that different cultures, whether that be as simply as regional or global, have different ways of viewing life. While one culture may find one thing to be socially acceptable another may find the same to be completely taboo. To begin this argument I would like to cite the works of Richmond Campbell in “Moral Epistemology”(Campbell 2003.) In this he states that “Moral knowledge exists, but moral facts are relative to the social group in which moral sensibility is formed with the result that no moral truths are known to hold universally.” While it may be fair to judge someone of your own culture off of your moral intuition, the statement above shows that you cannot equally transfer this moral judgment to another culture. Campbell uses the argument of a woman wearing a veil over her face.
Only few people are universally accepted as this ideal conception of morality, such figures like Gandhi or Jesus. Kant believes that we cannot derive this idea of morality simply from examples of those around us but we can only decide morality from a specific principle. This notion of morality is rooted from an idea that is not used by most individuals. He has little faith in human morality because he sees them as easily corruptible; the Kantian moral method can only be true on the basis that human nature often struggles with desires and passions that don’t always fit in line with morality. Kant argues that human reasoning is limited in its ability to provide an example of true morality.
A person’s approval of something makes it morally right; a person’s disapproval of something makes it morally wrong. Cultural Relativism claims that what is morally right and wrong depends on the moral codes of certain cultures. In order for an individual to be moral, he must act in accord with the moral codes of the society to which he belongs. Even though there are great distinctions between these two theories, they both emphasize that moral standard cannot be determined without referring to s... ... middle of paper ... ...t or wrong? 4.