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

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. Critically examine what is meant by natural moral law.

    when it seems hell of a lot more moral to break it. If there is an axe murderer who is going to use his weapon to kill someone, to break the rule 'does not steal' to get his weapon seems totally incoherent.

  2. Essay on Law vs. Justice

    Companies can do all they please to try to insure themselves from the many controversies arising from unethical decisions by their employees and associates. Codes of ethics or bylaws will take some of the risk and liability away, but not 100% of it.

  1. Explain the importance of good will in Kant's ethical theory.

    Kant believed that any action is not good in itself- the goodness depends on the guiding principle under which the action was taken. Therefore, an action that is done from instinct is not good as it is not a rational action.

  2. Emotivism as an Ethical Theory

    For example, to determine whether 'Tuesday was a wet day' I would have had to experience the fact myself or have known someone else who experienced the weather on Tuesday or searched through some empirical evidence, namely the meteorological records for that Tuesday.

  1. Outline the general ethical responsibilities on helping relationships and discuss them with examples from ...

    Jill, and there is no guarantee about the way Jill would react to this dilemma. There is also an unborn baby involved, what repercussions is this going to have on the pregnancy or the baby? The fact that Mark has confided in someone else outside his relationship could mean that

  2. Free essay

    Explain What Is Meant By natural law

    Aristotle's idea of purpose may have influenced him to expand on the idea. Aquinas' theory of natural law differs from 'divine command theory' as Natural law is more accessible to all and it relies on reason. Furthermore Aquinas' theory evaluates both acts and attitude as it allows humans to glorify God an express what a good God is.

  1. Explain the differences between Cultural Relativism and Cultural Absolutism

    However, these values are not absolute. This theory is known as Cultural Relativism. It is the idea that people around the world will have different morals because our cultures are different, and that it is possible for two cultures to have completely opposite values. We can observe this in the world today, for example, The Ik

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

    This leads us to be a more tolerant society. A positive of absolute morality is that it provides us with a firm account of what is right and wrong. This means that in a particular situation we won't have to spend time worrying about or trying to work out what is the right thing to do, as we would already know the answer.

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