• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Can moral absolutism be justified?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Moral absolutism cannot be justified" Discuss There are arguments to suggest that moral absolutism cannot be justified as it is not a reasonable solution to any ethical situation. The theory of moral relativism upholds that there are no universally valid moral principles, opposing the theory of moral absolutism. Relative morals can change according to the situation, where as absolutism leaves no flexibility for certain situations. Some would put forward the view that examining an ethical situation from a teleological point of view is a greater means of deciding how to act than absolutism. Teleological ethics explain that actions are right or wrong depending on the outcome; the outcome of an action is not taken into account in the principles of moral absolutism therefore this could be seen as a weakness. Problems in disregarding the consequences of a moral action could arise in certain situations, such as the absolutist decision that the intentional taking of a human life is always wrong, even in situations where the taking of one human life is required to save others. For example, a moral absolutist could argue against the termination of a pregnancy, even if it is necessary to save the mother's ...read more.

Middle

What is seen as morally acceptable in one culture may be frowned upon in another, for example it is the norm in some cultures for a man to take more than one wife, where as in most western cultures this is seen as immoral. Cultural relativism maintains that truth itself is relativist and all beliefs are equally valid. The cultural diversity of our world makes it difficult to establish universal morals which every culture should follow, and if the people of a particular culture are content then we should not impose our own morals on them, as we are each a product of our own culture, narrowing our views of what is right or wrong. The fact that the world is constantly changing also means that morals could be seen as relative according to their historical context, and because of this absolute morals are not likely to survive. Additionally, the controversy in meta-ethics makes moral absolutism unfeasible, as there is no universally accepted definition of right and wrong. What one person describes as right is always subject to disagreement amongst others, therefore it is impossible to agree on absolute moral principles which everyone should uphold. ...read more.

Conclusion

This worldwide awareness of right and wrong is exemplified in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, in which a set of rules for multiple nations to live by is established. In response to the idea of cultural relativism one could argue that moral absolutism enables us to effectively judge the actions of another culture, and if all cultures followed this absolute reasoning everyone would have a greater standard of moral living. Cultural relativism could be used as an excuse to act immorally and by having a set of moral absolutes this is made unjustifiable. Moreover, in many religions a set of moral absolutes is provided by the deity, therefore by obeying these fundamental principles of right or wrong a person is seen as living a morally good life in the eyes of God, and to go against them because of circumstances or consequences is sinful. As God issued the rules by which mankind should follow, they must be perfect since God is perfect. In conclusion, I agree with the statement that moral absolutism cannot be justified, as moral absolutism is too inflexible in it's principles to allow exceptions in extreme situations, such as where the life of a human being is concerned. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. Moral Absolutism can Never be Justified. Discuss

    Here it is clear that moral absolutism is justified, as such a brutal form of execution is always wrong. As well as this, relativism allows one to create a culture within which murder is acceptable. It would be considered ethnocentric to condemn that culture, and so murder would continue.

  2. "Humanitarian intervention, which is ruled out by realism and the morality of states, can ...

    Hobbes says that the citizens subject themselves to the sovereign, in most cases, and that this is sufficient to constitute a binding contract.

  1. Modern life-prolonging technologies have sharpened some ancient dilemmas on the value of life.

    SL proponents who permit (or require) preventive killing recognize at least one cause worth dying for. Absolute SL proponents cannot recognize any other. Infinite and Maximum SL proponents, however, could in principle recognize other causes that outweigh the value of an individual's life.[Note 6] Making and Destroying Life SL makes

  2. is abortion justified to save the mother's life

    However, in recent years two factors have challenged that traditional sanctity of life position. Western society has become far more critical of religious claims and advanced medical technology has blurred the boundaries between life and death. Some argue that the sanctity of life principle is out of date and that

  1. How can we justify beliefs?

    Foundationalists in the past are known to differ from each other according the different types of propositions they regard as foundational. E.g. analytic philosophers of the twentieth century said that certain kinds of sensory reports can be known straight away.

  2. The Teleological Argument

    The evidence from astronomy and Newton's laws of motion and gravity influenced his argument, to prove design in the universe exists. He stated that the rotation of the planets in the solar system and the gravity that holds the solar system together could not have come about by chance.

  1. Considering the claims of both absolutism and relativism, discuss the importance of situation ethics ...

    What is right for you, is the same for me and every other person in the world, unlike relativism the absolutist rules do not change for the situation, culture, religion, time or place. Immoral acts are intrinsically wrong, which means wrong in themselves, it isn't made wrong by anything, it

  2. Is Christ a Kantian?

    Since if all men are liars such that no one will be keeping his promises, no one would also trust anyone anymore. Thus it becomes logically impossible for me to give any promise to anyone at all (for to give a promise implies logically that you expect another to trust

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work