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Explain what is meant by calling an ethical theory relativist or absolutist.

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Introduction

Explain what is meant by calling an ethical theory relativist or absolutist. Absolutism is based on a universal set of ethical morals that all people are subject to follow. These principles are objective and therefore more like legalistic morals because no personal judgement is included, and are intrinsically, in and of itself, right. Consequently, every person of every time and every place should follow these laws, regardless of belief. This supports the idea that moral standards have always existed so that good may prevail in the universe. An example of an absolutist is Plato who believed that justice and goodness existed as ideas beyond our awareness in another world, meaning that goodness and justice exists but what we comprehend are merely illusions of the certain truth. Our actions, consequently, can participate in real goodness, meaning that we must be good or bad in an absolute sense. Plato used this idea of universal principles to support his Theory of Ideas which bases itself that justice, goodness, love, etc. ...read more.

Middle

Every form of absolutism - religious, deontological, natural law - believes that it goes against universal moral principles; that it is objectively bad to kill because the actions break a moral rule. In all these examples, the main aspects are rightness and wrongness defined intrinsically - there is a universal standard of right and wrong that we are consciously aware of - and there is an objective structure that prevents personal judgement to cloud the fact that there are qualities to right and wrong that cannot be ignored because of what one or several people believe. Relativism is based on the belief that moral truth changes depending on the culture, place, religion and time; therefore there is no fixed objective morals. Moral truths are subjective and to each person their own opinion so there are various planes of relativism, from weak to extreme, for example, one relativist might believe that it is acceptable for underage children to be sexual active with people older than them if that is what a culture believes (extreme) ...read more.

Conclusion

There are no laws in situation ethics, so the most essential principle is that of agape (unconditional love) which Fletcher highlights by calling Jesus a situationist because he healed the sick on the Sabbath and ate with prostitutes which was again the law. The main point here is that whether the action is 'right' doesn't matter, as long as your aim is to enforce agape, making it subjective. In all these examples, the main aspects are rightness and wrongness defined intrinsically - there is a universal standard of right and wrong that we are consciously aware of - and there is an objective structure that prevents personal judgement to cloud the fact that there are qualities to right and wrong that cannot be ignored because of what one or several people believe. In all these examples, the main aspects are that morality is, generally, learned behaviour from society and that every circumstance must have some sort of self-judgment concerning it, whether it is to enforce the idea of absolute moral laws like rape is wrong and other actions like stealing can be questioned or not. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mrs Roberts Joanna Buckley Ethics SFC1H ...read more.

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