Essay on Moral Relativism : Moral, Relativism, And Relativism

Essay on Moral Relativism : Moral, Relativism, And Relativism

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Can we assume an action is moral just because it is normal and accepted by the majority of people? According to moral relativism, the answer is yes! Relativism is the belief that says moral principles are valid, but are different by individuals (subjectivism) or by culture (conventionalism). Conventionalists like Ruth Benedict claim that cultures cannot judge one another, since they have different principles (Pojman, 514). On the other hand, Pojman argues that there are some serious issues with relativism. One example is tolerance with cultures that have different principles. Since there are no standards of principles according to relativism, being tolerant is not better than being intolerant, and here relativists fail to criticize intolerance. Moral relativism contradicts itself by saying there are no universal norms and cultures should not judge or criticize one another while appealing to the principle of tolerance as a universal one.
Benedict defines normal as “a variant of the term of the good” and morality as “a convenient concept of what is socially approved” (Pojman, 518). In other words, any socially acceptable behavior that is viewed as normal is also good. All of the different moralities are equally valid. Using the argument of “normality”, every culture decides what action is right, to suit the majority. Then those people live with what they define as normal and the minority then become different and abnormal (Pojman, 518). Benedict emphasizes that moral and ethical relativism occurs as a response to differences in cultures naturally (Pojman, 518-519). Subjectivism is the extreme end of relativism. This belief makes mortality determined by individuals, not society or universe. Therefore, what you believe in is the onl...


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...issues appear at the conventionalist level, then they are more powerful at the subjectivist level. If subjectivism is true, then law systems and courts are useless, since the only standard we are judged for is our own. Basically, all actions are correct according to subjectivists. Therefore, subjectivists are not able even to criticize murder or terrorism because these actions are valid and acceptable as love and caring, since they are a part of the person’s moral principles. By removing value of judgment from my behavior “saying all is fine since I believe in it, I am then left without motives to act in moral way, because I can create whatever moral principle to match and justify my actions. An example we discussed in class is Tedd Bundy who was moral subjectivist, and had absolutely no reason to stop his crimes, since he follows what “he” thinks is right or wrong.

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