Can moral absolutism be justified?

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“Moral absolutism cannot be justified” Discuss

There are arguments to suggest that moral absolutism cannot be justified as it is not a reasonable solution to any ethical situation.

 The theory of moral relativism upholds that there are no universally valid moral principles, opposing the theory of moral absolutism. Relative morals can change according to the situation, where as absolutism leaves no flexibility for certain situations. Some would put forward the view that examining an ethical situation from a teleological point of view is a greater means of deciding how to act than absolutism. Teleological ethics explain that actions are right or wrong depending on the outcome; the outcome of an action is not taken into account in the principles of moral absolutism therefore this could be seen as a weakness. Problems in disregarding the consequences of a moral action could arise in certain situations, such as the absolutist decision that the intentional taking of a human life is always wrong, even in situations where the taking of one human life is required to save others. For example, a moral absolutist could argue against the termination of a pregnancy, even if it is necessary to save the mother’s life, where as a teleological position on this situation is likely to accept the value of the mother’s life over that of the unborn child. Furthermore, some believe the principles of utilitarianism should be applied when making a moral decision, as this takes into account the consequences of an action in order to achieve the greatest amount of happiness possible for all people involved. Achieving happiness could be seen as the ultimate purpose in life therefore by taking a moral absolutist view this purpose is often unable be achieved.

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 The practise of situation ethics also takes into account the outcome of an action and opposes that of moral absolutism, as making moral conclusions according to situation ethics relies only on the principle of love or agape. To do what is most loving in a situation may be seen as of higher importance that doing something just because it is believed to be intrinsically right. This is prominent in the teachings of Jesus Christ.  

 Another weakness in the appliance of moral absolutism is the disagreement it could cause amongst different cultures. What is seen as morally acceptable in one ...

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