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

There are no moral absolutes, discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐There are no moral absolutes. Discuss Moral absolutism is the view that morale standards are unchanging and universal. On the opposite side of the spectrum there is a relativist approach. Relativists believe that moral claims are true or false depending on the moral standpoint. These opposing viewpoints can bring about great societal and political debates even in the modern days. Recent examples include the attempt to legalise euthanasia in the UK and the protest to get rid of abortion laws in the Republic of Ireland. Both of these situations are trying to legalise specific forms of murder. An absolutist in this situation will argue that all killing is wrong therefore current laws are right, whereas a relativist would look at specific standpoints, such as quality of life for euthanasia. In this essay I will attempt to explore both sides of the argument coming to my conclusion that relativism is a superior standpoint and that there are no moral absolutes. Some absolutist people disagree with the above statement about moral absolutes. This is because absolutism is a deontological argument which judges the morality of an action based on the action's appliance to rules. ...read more.


Furthermore there cannot be moral absolutes as eventually they will contradict each other. For example, Jewish doctors in the Holocaust performed abortions to prevent women from being sent to the gas chambers. Two rules here are conflicting. One of which is that Doctors should not perform abortions and another that Doctors should try and save lives. Either way from an absolutist standpoint the doctor will be doing the wrong thing, but a relativist approach allows us to overlook this. On the other hand, there may have to be moral absolutes, because if everything is relativists then how do we decide what rules to abide by. If two tribes cross paths on a Sunday and one of which believes that a sacrifice should be made on Sunday whereas the other tribe does not, if the first tribe then sacrifices a member of the other tribe, it that then morally right or wrong. A relativist would say that it is right for the first tribe but wrong for the second. But how can society work based on right for me, wrong for you system without falling into moral conflict and chaos. ...read more.


Leading to conclusions such as the killing of Eskimo girls to be morally correct and the act of abortion by a World War 2 doctor also to be moral. Whereas if there are moral absolutes than the same moral rules are applicable all across the world and throughout history. These rules may be some form of innate knowledge or come from the divinity of God and do not change as opinion does. Meaning that if slavery comes back into fashion and is agreed upon to be good, it does not make it morale. In conclusion, I hold a relativist point of view because different cultures have to adapt to live in their surroundings. Extreme measures are often taken for survival which to us in western society would seem abhorrent; however it is for the greater good of future generations. I very much believe that ends justify the means therefore making me a Consequentialist even if rules such as absolutist murder have to be broken. Finally morale absolutes can also seem cruel, for example branding Euthanasia as murder makes people live their final days in unimaginable pain, whereas a relativist approach could give people a dignified end to their life, is that not moral. ...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. RE euthanasia for and against

    Preference utilitarianism is distinguished, as everyone's experience of satisfaction is unique, as we cannot decide what is good as it differs for different people. We could apply this with statistics to see who would approve of euthanasia, as everybody's opinion would be different.

  2. Ethical Criticism of McDonalds

    The impact of a McDonald's diet on children is also a major ethical concern, as an increasing number of children are faced with obesity problems. 'Every month, 90 percent of the children between 3 and 9 in America visit a McDonald's' (Schlosser, 2001).

  1. There should be no moral absolutes in sexual behaviour

    Another example is in The Old Testament Leviticus 18:22 "No man is to have sexual relations with another man". Traditional/Conservative Christians believe these statements to be true and take the bibles word as fact. The Roman Catholic Church still teaches that same sex relationships are wrong.

  2. moral relativist

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer emphasised the importance of individual choice. People were looking for greater autonomy during the 20th century, so when Joseph Fletcher published his book 'Situation ethics' he was putting in words the mood at the time. He wrote form a Christian point of view and believed that morality should be based on the rule of agape, and not the Ten Commandments.

  1. 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?

  2. Modern life-prolonging technologies have sharpened some ancient dilemmas on the value of life.

    I will not elaborate interesting variants of the equality condition, although several may be cited: all those lives under the jurisdiction of this legal system are of equal value and may be given priority over aliens; all "innocent" lives are of equal value and may be given priority over non-innocent

  1. The Dreamings as being fundamental to Aboriginal cultures & societies

    Xn movements, esp. in Prot. ch. ( 70% of Abor. now identify w/ Xity ( effect of missions. ( many ch.'s have integrated trad'al Abor. cultural practices w/ Xn ceremonial & ritual life, eg. art, music, symbols. ( eg. Pope John Paul II used a smoking ceremony in the beatificatn of Mary Mackillop.

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

    For example, we like to think that we have morally progressed since the times of slavery. However if normative relativism is correct, we cannot say that they were wrong, as slavery was right for them in that time period. This is a bit uneasy for us to think about, as

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