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

Ethics needs rules. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Ethics needs rules. Discuss. There are two main branches to normative ethics, these being Relative and absolute ethics, both of which conflict with one another. For centuries scholars have battled with one another on whether ethics does need rules. Absolutists believe that there are universal rules that can be applied to every situation whereas relativists such as Fletcher believe that circumstances should be accounted for. Moral relativism is the belief that morality does not relate to any absolute standard of right or wrong, but that 'good' and 'bad' are dependant on culture and circumstance. There are many advantages to this belief, cultural diversity is an advantage as not every culture is going to be mirrored across the world, therefore many views are likely to conflict ( age of sexual consent differs) but moral relativism takes them into account. The majority of theories were established before the technological revolution that occurred in the 20th century and many absolute theories can now be seen as faulty or extreme due to the lack of flexibility, for example, one absolute rule is do not kill, therefore is abortion morally wrong? ...read more.


On the other hand, there are significant disadvantages to the flexibility of relativism and to rely solely on consequences rather than standards or morality. It is incredibly difficult to comprehend what the consequences of an action, and a 'wrong' action could lead to a good consequence. Also when one is personally involved in a situation it id difficult to be objective without being emotionally bias. Some people argue that to understand morality there must be an absolute standard of morality on order to judge some one against. This is where the strengths of absolutism lie. For absolutists an action is ALWAYS wrong or right, there are no exceptions and the rules that are laid are not to be broken in any circumstances in order to be moral. Kant held that there were absolute duties which were always right. He believed that we should consider whether our actions could be translated into a universal law before deciding what is right and wrong. ...read more.


Again there are disadvantages to this side of the argument as it refuses to take into account individual situation and sometimes a good consequence can become of a bad act, for example, stealing food to feed one's starving children. Absolutists would not look at the good consequence and just see the action as wrong. Whereas Utilitarians would say the claim the women was doing it for the greatest good for the greatest number so therefore it is justified. In conclusion we can see that absolute rules are needed in decisions, however in a modern day world it is not readily acceptable on its own. Many people will argue that we need to recognise the fact that there are special circumstances where the rules will not apply and we need to make room for these situations and act accordingly. Although there are disadvantages to every ethical theory, these disadvantages are better than absolute chaos that not having any rules would bring about. So in conclusion, ethics does need rules but just not absolute rules!!!! ...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. Absolutist Rules Always Good or Sometimes Bad?

    To us, such severe punishment is wrong. Many Christians or British people would call such an act murder. Therefore, there is no real answer as to whether Absolutism is right or wrong, as it depends entirely on the religion or culture, or even the individual.

  2. Business Ethics

    The codes of ethics are issue for these reasons. However, rather than becoming a rule of law where offenders can be made to face legal action, the codes are meant to be a self-restraining or self-governing mechanisms. Provisions in the codes are meant to be guidelines that have to be

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

    If there are no universally acceptable moral standards, no moral standards can be applied across the globe. It is very difficult to decipher whether or not humanitarian intervention is in conflict with the doctrine of cultural relativism. If one supposes that humanitarian intervention is justified in one instance, for example

  2. Philosophy and Ethics: A look at Confucianism and Taoism and their Affects on the ...

    Desire, ambition, fame, and selfishness are all portrayed as vices and hindrances in one's life and are for such, better to be avoided. Taoists find no importance in materialistic items. If one is able to rid themselves of all desires, the Tao will be met.

  1. Examine at least two religious perspectives on sexual ethics. To what extent, if any, ...

    The influential Christian writer, St. Paul, believed that celibacy was the more holy state due to the example set by Jesus as well as the fact that marriage could be a distraction from an individual's relationship with God. However, although he felt that marriage prevented people from truly serving God,

  2. Business Ethics

    Business Ethics Criteria As we have explained before, ethical practices are related with use of power and decision making. That's why managers often confront ethical dilemmas in their jobs because they frequently use power and politics to accomplish their goals.

  1. Explain the differences between absolute and relative morality. 'Relativist theories give no convincing reason ...

    If a doctor has just been informed that his family have been killed by a drunk driver, and then a drunk driver is the next person to come in to the theatre for the doctor to perform surgery on, the doctor would know that it is the right thing to save the man's life.

  2. With reference to the topic of abortion , examine and comment on the controversies, ...

    Church maintains that the foetus is a human life that gains human personhood from the very moment of conception. The question is, when does life become sacred? At conception, viability, birth or full sentience? John Locke?s famous definition of a person is ?a thinking intelligent being, that has reason

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