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

Expalin the concept of Moral Relativism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Moral Relativism Essay A. Moral Relativism is a philosophical school of thought, it states that there is no moral or universal truths regarding whether or not something is morally or ethically acceptable. Instead it claims that one must take into account: cultural; social; historical and personal circumstances. Different people have different moral codes and therefore what is morally right and wrong to them is entirely subjective. For instance King Darius observed that while one tribe of Greeks burnt the bodies of their fathers upon death, another tribe of called the Callations ate the bodies of their fathers. Darius asked how much he would have to pay the tribes to adopt each others practices and both were outraged by the proposal and the practice of the other tribe. What was morally acceptable for one tribe was not for the other; both were right because one tribe's opinion could not be more valid than the others. The Greek philosopher Protagoras said "there's no truth in anything beyond what it seems," meaning that all knowledge depends on ones perceptions of information. In short there can be no absolute moral principles. An example of a relativist theory is situation ethics. Joseph Fletcher an American priest was the man to first develop this theory in 1966 when he published his book "situation ethics." ...read more.

Middle

Thirdly, positivism is the belief that reason works within faith therefore people should act reasonably depending on their faith. Finally one must use personalism; one must put people first and do what will help human best. With these things established Fletcher then established the main theory. Namely that, only love is good in itself, actions cant be intrinsically good or evil they're good or evil depending on whether they do the most loving thing their circumstances and their consequences. Laws can be broken by love there is no law that can equal love it replaces law when needed. Love and justice are the same they can't be separated from each other. Fletcher writes about this in his book, he says that "Justice is Christian love using its head; justice is love coping with situations where distribution is called for." The love that situation ethics is concerned with is agape it is a desire for the good of another person, not just those we like but everyone it is unconditional. Actions become moral depending on their end therefore to consider a moral action without considering its end is foolish. When thinking on a moral dilemma one must consider the desired end, the means to the end, the motive and consequences of those means and end. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another thing is that because it is subjective decisions must be made within the situation. But how can people be sure that their perception of the situation is the right one how can individuals safely decide which is the most loving action? Surely to do this one must have an unobjective view of the situation, because we don't have this it is more then plausible that people will make unloving decisions because of their bias. It is also almost impossible to perceive all consequences of a possible action which could be said to show the theory as unworkable. As situation ethics is individualistic there's surely a danger that the course that will best serve love will be obscured by the tendency of humans to be selfish, the truth is that Agape is an unreasonable ideal how likely is it that a woman will do as much to help a complete stranger as their husbands or help a stranger if it inconveniences themselves and their partner even if it is the most loving action. Finally it appears that situation ethics appears to accept actions as long as people believe it is the most loving action. Surely after the acts that human kind has seen and done, most people surely have a sense that some things that are just wrong and can never be right. This theory could justify actions that many regard as totally wrong. ...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. Explain the difference between moral relativism and cultural relativism

    This is where individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives and thus could cause anarchic consequences. Relativist theories always require people to make their own decisions. Although this would not be a problem for the majority some people would be especially prone to make wrong decisions that could result in disastrous consequences.

  2. Absolutism is a more useful tool to make moral decisions than relativism. Discuss.

    One of the most universally controversial topics is abortion. Abortion is particularly controversial as people are much undecided about when the embryo, foetus or unborn child becomes human. Some people would say that it becomes human from contraception, others say as soon as it can feel pain and some would say that it only becomes human when it is born.

  1. "It is impossible to reconcile any kind of determinism with the concept of freewill." ...

    We contrast this flexible, conscious control that we enjoy with the involuntary action of, say, our heartbeat or digestion, and with the instinctual imperative of a bird's nest-building or a dog's conditioned response. Our decisions are far more independent of nature and nurture than any animals; we are aware of

  2. moral relativism and situation ethics

    In English, there is only one word for love and thus there can be difference in meaning between people. On the other hand, in Greek there are four, each meaning love, but in different ways. Firstly, Eros is the love of passion and erotic love; philia is the love of

  1. The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning.

    And we all believe that man exists. Tied to this question is the determination of when a new person comes into being and when a person is dead and gone. The ethical importance of the Supreme Court's abortion decision is its judgment that an embryo or fetus is not a person.

  2. Natural Moral Law - in theory and in practice.

    Reason should always be the guide in balancing those desires which conflict, as Peter Mullen said ?reason and the regularities of the natural world should be your guide.? For example, whilst reproduction and self-preservation is good, abortion may be acceptable to preserve the mother?s life.

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

    How can we define 'good' and 'right' if these terms are flexible? We can't, and so surely this means that these theories do not provide humans with a convincing reason to be good? Maybe people who follow relativist theories of morality do so simply because of this flexibility, and so they see this as a strength of the theory.

  2. Explain the differences between Cultural Relativism and Cultural Absolutism

    Plato believes that we obtain our knowledge of what is moral from a higher being called ?The Form of the Good? who exists outside the universe. This suggests that he believes our morals come from a figure of authority, and to Christians, this figure would be God.

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