Moral Relativism Throughout History

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Morality, it seems, can only be obtained through subjective reasoning. One’s ability to perceive morality is derived from either a tacit, oral, or written agreement that is developed by one’s community or ethnos for members of that community or ethnos to abide by. The values of an ethnos may change over a period of time, but the fundamental aspect of the idea being specific to those of the ethnos and not being ubiquitous remains. These sentences express what are the basic tenants of moral relativism. I was curious to discover how moral relativism addresses the issue of racial inequality and policies during the 20th century. Furthermore, I wanted to discover if a moral relativists view would provide justification for 20th century racial inequality and policies. German (Nazis), American (Jim Crow), and South African (Apartheid) racial policies of the 20th century were all aimed in providing legality to subordination and legalizing inferiority. Although it may seem impossible to ignore the atrocities that occurred as a result of these policies, for the purpose of this essay, I must focus on if there was any justification of these ideas. An objection to moral relativism often highlights the lack of prudence to obvious moral wrongs, which I will discuss later in this essay. Additionally, critics of moral relativism point to a universal morality that supersedes ethnos or group morality. However, more objections will be discussed later in this essay. Perceived notions of ‘race’ allowed from certain ethnic groups to promote racial inequality as a ubiquitous fact amongst their respective ethnos (Germans, Americans, South Africans). Moreover, their views are specific to their individual ethnos and thus, not subject to a broad acceptance or ...

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