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"'Right' and 'wrong' are just expressions of preference; they do not refer to any absolute set of values." Discuss.

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Introduction

"'Right' and 'wrong' are just expressions of preference; they do not refer to any absolute set of values." Discuss. (17 marks) The question of the existence of absolute 'rights' and 'wrongs' is a much-debated topic in society. Many argue there is no such thing and that all moral judgements are made by order of preference rather than following a set of moral rules or guidelines. It is natural for us as humans who were built to think for ourselves, to want to portray our viewpoint to others on topics of great discussion. Therefore we can expect personal opinions or preferences to take an important role in decision-making. However, many argue this way of thinking has no moral value at all. It is merely stating what you feel rather than what is morally 'right'. Expressions of preference are ideas that people are inclined to believe to be correct. They are based on our emotions and feelings, and what we would like to see happen as a consequence to our preference. This key idea is mainly reflected in Emotivism, which is in opposition to absolutism. ...read more.

Middle

W D Ross argued that "I know what my duty is, but sometimes it conflicts with another and therefore a choice must be made." He is saying that everything still has a self-evident 'goodness' but we are simply put in the position where we have to choose the greater of two evils. We have to decide which option brings more 'good' to the world and opt for that. This means ethical dilemmas are merely a result of 'conflicting duties'. Even so, there are still many situations where we do not know what is right and many cultures where there is no one ethical way of life, we do not have clear instincts on some moral dilemmas. It also may be perceived as insufficient to simply say we cannot define the moral term 'good' because it leaves us with so many unanswered questions. It seems to be taking the easy way out and does not supply us with a satisfactory solution. It is totally avoiding answering some of the most difficult questions in Meta ethics such as "what does it mean to be 'bad'." ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore we must include this in the way we think to receive a balanced and fair point of view on everything. Reducing it to mere emotions is not considered an acceptable way of looking at things. To make a fair and all rounded balanced and acceptable decision, we must include both emotion and reason together, which is why Prescriptivism plays such an important role in Meta ethics. Prescriptivism helps to overcome the problem of Reductivism in Emotivism. This is because rational thinking is brought into consideration, prescribing a course of action to be taken rather than solely relying upon our feelings. In conclusion, I think that whether we believe 'right' or 'wrong' to be mere personal preference or to have some deeper meaning, which follows absolute values all, depends on personal opinion. Many would say there is no such thing as an absolute set of values because everything depends on different circumstances as to whether it is right or wrong. Others would say there are some sets of values or morals that are always right, such as striving for peace or happiness. It all depends on which side you base the majority of your decision making; your emotions and feelings or your logic and reasoning. ...read more.

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