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

What is moral Relativism

Extracts from this document...


Martin Rothwell A) What is meant by Moral Relativism? Moral Relativism visits many of areas of ethical issues. A relativist's main aim when making an ethical decision would be to please as many people as possible. They would try to understand about a person's or people's beliefs or culture before making the decision. They would try and learn all they could about those beliefs and cultures and try to understand why these people would believe in these things. Relativism is also the belief that everyone has a right to their own opinion and this opinion is valid and should always be considered. A relativist would also believe that there is no moral objective truth or 'natural law' that humans follow. They believe even if there was then we cannot know it as what is morally true for one person may not be true for another individual. They believe that morals are subject to culture, time and place. This is also known as cultural relativism. A modern cultural relativist J L Mackie wrote 'There are no objective values.' ...read more.


The love however must be unconditional love known as agape love. The two main ethical theories were brought together for situation ethics to exist. Legalistic ethics relates strongly to natural law and are strong guidelines set down for humans to live their lives and use to base ethical decisions on. Usually Catholics and other religions have strong legalistic traditions. The opposite of this is Antinomian ethics where a person would make a decision without any principles. They would make a decision spontaneously and have the view that each decision is unique from the last one. The compromise to this is Situation ethics were a person would follow a moral law until a decision is made where agape love needs to be the outcome even if it goes against the natural law. To prevent people becoming confused on what principles needed to be used to break down the situation he divided the principles into two categories. The first principles were the four working principles. These were the principles that must be assumed are working before a decision is to take place. ...read more.


Fourth Proposition - Love wills the neighbours good whether we like him or not Agape love is the desire to do well. It is unconditional love and it goes out to everyone around us. Yet nothing is required back from it. Fifth Proposition - Only the end justifies the means; nothing else Fletcher believed the end result is far more important than the action itself. However the end result must be the most loving. However he said we must also look at the motive for acting and also the consequences. Sixth Proposition - Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively. This is perhaps the most important proposition linking with situation ethics. It is saying that something an action is either right or wrong based on the situation. Fletcher believed an action that brought the most loving outcome is right. He said that Jesus himself also followed this belief as he distanced himself from Jewish groups that lived on a rule based society. B) The problem with moral relativist theories is that they do not provide any definite answers. When looking at moral relativist theories one of the key features that needs to be analysed deeply is the situation being looked at. It may be that ...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 their view due to the ethos behind Consequentialism. This means that people do whatever they need to do to reach a desired result including breaking the law. To use my analogy from earlier, if a parent needs to feed their children but cant afford too and so steal

  2. Essay on Law vs. Justice

    Nor where they ready for an incident of this magnitude. The company showed malfeasance in dealing with the issues at hand and most of the issues could have been alleviated had they taken proper care in the construction of the failed tank. Another issue is equal employment opportunities for everyone.

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

    If the mother's life is at risk, or it wasn't her fault that she became pregnant, the Church of England would see abortion as acceptable. It is illegal to abort a child in Ireland, because of their strong religious beliefs that still affect the government.

  2. How useful is Joseph Fletcher's "Situation Ethics"as a guide to human behaviour?

    It is also true to the Gospel representation of Jesus and what rules he lived by rather than living by the Old Testament or Jewish laws such as the Ten Commandments, which Jesus came to amend. Situation ethics is flexible, practical and allows for certain actions if the motive is pure and loving for others.

  1. Explain what is meant by Moral Relativism

    Situation ethics allows people to make their own decisions and use their freedom of choice to do so. It also explains why there are different cultural expressions and prohibits the dominance of one single culture. However regimes such as the Nazi regime can be looked upon by relativists as wrong.

  2. moral relativism and situation ethics

    friendship, storge is the love in a family and finally agape is self-emptying love, or unconquerable goodwill. It is the determination to always seek a man's good, no matter what he does to you, so it is a purposeful attitude, not a passion.

  1. Outline the Six Fundamental Principles of Joseph Fletchers Situation Ethics

    Agape love includes acts such as these which are done by a person and yet they expect nothing in return. This particular proposition really sums up the whole of the theory of Situation Ethics. The Fifth proposition explains the ?Only the end justifies the means, nothing else.? This proposition outlines

  2. Examine and comment on the view that religious and/or moral principles provide essential guidelines ...

    Illegal abortion was scarcely being controlled or condemned by the government once the Act was introduced. But just because abortion takes place does not mean there is enough reason to make it legal. Murder and rape cannot be prevented and happen on a daily basis, however there is no suggestion

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