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Absolutism and Relativism

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Introduction

Absolutism and Relativism Objective moral truths In certain moral situations, it is thought by absolutists that a moral truth is objective, which is that it is thought that certain moral situations are either intrinsically right or wrong. This moral truth is universal and unchanging in all circumstances, cultures, times and places. Plato was an absolutist and he thought that as well as things being inherently right and wrong, he thought that goodness itself really exists beyond this world. The highest form, the form of goodness provoked the question of 'What is goodness itself?". Plato thought that goodness itself was the highest form of reality, which is an objective or absolute thing that existed eternally, beyond our limited world. He valued goodness very highly, comparing it to having the same importance that the sun has. Plato thought that every moral situation was either right or wrong, and that our minds which were "distorted between pleasure and pain" could not perceive circumstances correctly, because we could not comprehend goodness itself, and therefore could not judge on which situations were right or wrong. ...read more.

Middle

A relativist would say that just because they think that euthanasia is wrong does not mean that others think the same and will carry out their lives based on your beliefs. They know that different people will react differently to different circumstances and that although one thing might be right for one person, it can be wrong for another. Another form of relativism is cultural relativism. This is where that in one culture certain activities would be socially condemned, whereas in another they would be praised. For example, in some countries polygamy is not only praised but necessary, whereas in countries such as England, polygamy is illegal and only monogamy is carried out. Relativists such as J.L. Mackie believes that "there are no objective values" and he thinks the fact that there have been so many different views and values in different times, places, cultures and countries that one set of morals cannot possibly exist and is shown through this. ...read more.

Conclusion

They maintain that some things are intrinsically right and other things are intrinsically wrong, and that these things are fixed for all time and all people and no one is exceptional. Absolutism means that there is no double standards, no unfairness from circumstances and there are moral codes which are set in stone in reinforced. An absolute set of moral truths cannot be determined by humans as human society is always changing and therefore so will be their perceptions on moral situations. The biggest argument for relativism is that it seems to be the most lenient and least extreme way of dealing with certain issues. Relativists live in a more tolerant society and it is in these circumstances that all types of people can live together and get on with each other. Relativists understand an absolutist's point of view, but have a different one themselves and make judgements based on individual circumstances and their own personal moral compass. This means that no one gets unfairly pigeon-holed and treated the same as someone from a completely different background. Relativists understand that because everyone is unique, so are their moral truths. Laura Keane ...read more.

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