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

Absolutism And Relativism.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Absolutism And Relativism Absolutism is to maintain that some things are right and other things are wrong, and that these things are fixed for all time, in all situations and for all people. This is also known as hard universalism - it denies plural morality and insists there is only one universal moral code. Moral rules are a priori, meaning that moral laws can be found without experience because they are inherently right, without taking account of the outcome, circumstance, culture or opinion. For example, in Christianity the Ten Commandments guide the way to knowing what one should not do: "Do not murder", "Do not steal", "Do not bear false witness" etc. An example of an ethical absolutist is St Thomas Aquinas, who believed in a fixed divine law (Natural Moral Law). Aquinas' basic law of natural moral law: "...that good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided..." which expresses an absolutist perspective. Another absolutist, Plato, argued that goodness, the highest form of reality, was an absolute thing that existed eternally and beyond this world, occupied by forms or ideas, which are the true reality. For example, a beautiful picture had "form beauty" in it; without form beauty there would be no beautiful things. In other words, without forms there is no reality. Strengths And Weaknesses Of Absolutism Absolutism provides a fixed ethical code to measure actions. For example, an ethical absolutist can disapprove of Hitler's extremist political regime, Nazi Germany or the wife-beater ("you must never beat your wife and this remains true all the time"). ...read more.

Middle

For example, long-ago, it was usual to abandon highwaymen in hanging cages to starve and decay. Nowadays, that type of chastisement is deemed to be morally unacceptable. History has also shown that women, for example, were not given the same property rights as men and they were prohibited from voting. The situation today is quite different. Justice has been served and many countries give men and women equal status, such as in the United Kingdom. Strengths And Weaknesses Of Relativism Relativism explains the existence of the different values that people hold. In other words, it prohibits a dominant culture from enforcing itself over others simply because "we're right and they're wrong". In other words, it suits the multicultural nature of the world, because it gives equal measure to the various cultural and religious alliances (groupings). If you believe that there is a single objective morality then you will believe that many communities and cultures are wrong. On the contrary, who are you to say that whole civilisations which have developed over hundreds of years, are wrong? Furthermore, in this day and age societies have to live together, and this will not be achieved if they disrespect eachother's beliefs about goodness and badness. Hence if we want to live in peace in a world where different ways of life coexist, then we should abstain from accusing other cultures of being mistaken about what is right. Hence it makes it easy to tolerate the different moral beliefs of people in other societies. ...read more.

Conclusion

It seems relativists exaggerate the differences between one culture and another. Relativists do, however, adopt an absolute principle: "Be tolerant of everyone's different moral codes". Additionally, relativism continues to be popular because it has been incorporated into situation ethics, because the loving thing to do will depend on the situation, and as no two situations are ever exactly alike, different courses of action might be right in some circumstances but wrong in others, and utilitarianism, which describes goodness as more or less with respect to the amount of happiness generated. Linking Absolutism, Relativism, Objectivism And Subjectivism Objective = Not biased; existing in the real world outside the human mind; factual; impartial. Subjective = Based on personal feelings or prejudices. Absolutists hold that some things are wrong from an objective point of view, not just wrong from your or my perspective. The moral way of living is to do things that are objectively good and avoid things that are objectively bad. Things that are right or wrong can't change and they don't depend on the situation. For example, torturing children, rape and murder are always wrong. What is right and wrong for you is the same for me and for every other person in the world. Relativists believe that morals are subjective - subject to the culture, religion, time and place. There is no objective moral truth, or if there is we cannot know it. What is right for one group of people may be wrong for another group of people. For example, certain Greeks burnt the bodies of their fathers, while a different people called Callations ate the bodies of their fathers. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Religion in Society 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 University Degree Religion in Society essays

  1. Ethnography - A Christian Youth Group

    As a result of these developments, individuals experience a greater need for intimacy and an increased capacity to enter close relationships which, at least in this case, is fulfilled through this type of group and their peer relationships. Other activities involving "throwing meetings" do not take such serious dimensions, but

  2. racism in britain GB

    A recent argument that I would like to touch upon is Mohammad Almajed's case. He is a foreign student who had come to Sussex to improve his English but was murdered due to his colour. It could be argued that Mohammad is not in any way an immigrant as he had come to Britain for a short period.

  1. Discuss Mills concept of utilitarianism as a moral theory.

    'Rule' utilitarianism on the other hand advocates the following of general moral rules, rules that if everyone followed would generate the maximum amount of happiness (for example a rule preventing killing or rape). If on a particular occasion the rule wouldn't have the best consequences a 'rule' utilitarian would still

  2. The entry sets out five individually necessary conditions for anyone to be a candidate ...

    killing someone that she has autonomously decided that that would be best for her. Objection 5 It is often said that if society allows voluntary euthanasia to be legally permitted we will have set foot on a slippery slope that will lead us inevitably to support other forms of euthanasia, especially non-voluntary euthanasia.

  1. How much and in what ways has 9/11 influenced public perceptions and the self ...

    while, within the Muslim communities, religion has maintained its influence and has been particularly helpful in aiding migrants to maintain their cultural identities giving them a 'symbolic keystone'. European Secularisation should ideally embrace tolerance and therefore allow people to maintain their religious identity but still to identify with the nationality so allowing a multi-religious, multi-cultural nation.

  2. Acts, Motives and Morality - Two accounts of motives for working in a shelter ...

    right act and so he 'can't be morally praise worthy for an accident'1 This logically follows from these premises but there are some arguments against this view. One objection to Kant's view is that 'someone who acts from duty does not really care about others, but fulfils his duties towards

  1. Homosexuality and Christianity

    There should be no laws against same-sex marriage. No individual should be forced to be unhappy because he/she cannot be with the one that he/she loves. If heterosexual couples can express their love through marriage, it is only fair that homosexuals can as well. Jesus believed that there should be no hate and that all people should be loved, be equal, and be treated with compassion and kindness.

  2. The Political Implications of Polygamy in the Utah Territory and the Secular Reasons the ...

    marriage strictly as a means through which he could fulfill his sexual desires and this was âa way to sanctify it, to make it respectable and to couch it in scriptural terms with revelations of convenienceâ (âThe Mormonsâ). Rumors of Joseph Smithâs association with polygamy surfaced long before the churchâs official declaration of the doctrine of plural marriage.

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