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

moral relativist

Extracts from this document...


(2) a) Explain Moral Relativism. (33) Moral relativism is the belief that morality does not relate to any absolute standards of right or wrong, but that right and wrong depend on things such as circumstances, religion and culture. In this way moral relativists are the opposite of absolutes, which is the belief that there are standards of right and wrong that are right regardless of circumstances, religion and culture. Absolutists, such as Plato argue that moral rules should be the same for everyone, with no exceptions; they believe that what is right for one person is right for another. This is known as universalisability. Moral relativists do not believe in universalisability, they believe that no-one can judge someone else because of their actions, because nothing is always wrong, and nothing is always right, because different things are right or wrong for different people based on circumstances, religion and culture. J.L.Mackie argues in his book 'Ethics': Inventing Right and Wrong' that our morality is shaped by our society, and claims that if morality has an absolute value then it is difficult to know what form this standard will take. ...read more.


It also expects too much of people. It may also sometimes go against what the bible states. Social contract theory which looks at how morality is based on the needs of society and that there is no absolute right or wrong, or an outside law giver. Thomas Hobbes who believed in this theory, argue that right and wrong are determined by the need for people to ignore their naturally selfish desires and work in the interests of the group. They determine right and wrong by looking at what is necessary to reduce conflict. Utilitarianism is another moral system proposed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill it looks at how there is no ultimate or absolute goodness but find a course of action that will please the majority. They believe that good is 'the greatest amount of happiness, for the greatest number'. b) 'Moral Relativism is an unacceptable ethical theory'. Discuss. (17) There are many problems with Moral Relativism, in which many would say that it is an unacceptable ethical theory. ...read more.


Therefore we are made into a better person. Also moral relativism promises that once we are successful in creating the sort of person we want to be, then arriving at and making decisions will come to us naturally for the rest of our lives as we have achieved the good person we want to be. Therefore many people would argue that natural law and absolute theories are in fact the unacceptable ethical theories as they do not give people the opportunity to be independent and make moral decisions using their own common sense in the same way as moral relativist theories do. Instead it just lays down rules that we should all follow without giving any independency or choice of what we believe is right and wrong. However many argue Moral relativism is in fact an acceptable ethical theory as it gives people the opportunity to be independent and make moral decisions using their own common sense, and gives us the choice of what we believe is right and 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. The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning.

    This was the primitive God of the Gaps-the God whose role was to fill in the gaps in man's knowl- 2 J. Fletcher, "Ethics and Euthanasia," American Journal of Nursing, 73 (April, 1973),670-675. 3 Boston Evening Globe, April 13, 1973.

  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. Assess Critically the Claim that Situation Ethics Provides a Better Method of Solving Moral ...

    Kant's deontological approach to moral issues promoted a black and white view of what may be viewed as moral or immoral. He proposed a principle that he thought would apply to all situations, fundamentally stating that a) the act must have the ability to be universalised and b)

  2. How might a moral relativist respond to the claim that people should always tell ...

    When responding to a situation, who has the right to justify whether the action was morally right? Is justification dependant upon love, motive, intention or belief? Where does love factor into a situation? If love is the determining factor behind a lie, is it therefore justified?

  1. “Without real freedom there would be no ethical decisions to make,” Discuss.

    own mind and conscience allow us to physically act on these decisions. This ties in with moral responsibility. Without the internal freedom which allows us to deliberate, non of the decisions we make can be truly ethical and we shouldn't be held responsible for actions which have been taken with a compromised sense of morality.

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

    This is a straightforward description of what the world really is like - in England, now, in 2012, it is illegal to commit active euthanasia as it is seen as morally wrong. In Switzerland it is legal as it is seen as morally acceptable.

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

    against the thinking in the 21st century that we recognise the variety of functions that people can fulfil. His understanding on human purposes is also limited as he claims there are only 5 primary precepts which we should live by, but there are many individuals who do not these precepts but still live a moral and fulfilling life.

  2. When dealing with zombies, one can find a lot of examples that relate with ...

    For example, in the first episode of the T.V series The Walking Dead by Frank Darabont, Morgan, a father that was fighting to survive and trying to protect his son from a bunch of zombies, finds himself in a situation where he does not know what to do.

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