1.25.2007

Relativism

What is ethical relativism?

"Philosophical view that what is right or wrong and good or bad is not absolute but variable and relative, depending on the person, circumstances, or social situation."

ethical relativism. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 25, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9363948


Seems plausible, tolerant and ethically neutral. But it is actually not a moral view at all because it denies any objective standard to which we are accountable.


5 comments:

sans auto said...

In an undergrad Philosophy class we studied relativism. For the lesson, the teacher played the part of a member of a small group that thought they felt closer to some higher power when they boiled babies. The class took two days arguing from a relativistic perspective and couldn't prove that what she was doing was bad. It's no good, but quite prevalent.

paulz said...

albeit entirely disconnected from this post, it brought to mind the issue of justice/violence/non-violence which often creates tensions for and within Christian circles when conversations regarding "what is good for so-and-so is ok with me" take place. this usually leads to ideals and whether violence is evil and indeed a sin...etc, etc, etc...so i share this little quote from a book.

"A politics of absolute hospitality and of absolute non-violence may seem appealing, but it is a recipe for a politics of the worst kind of violence. In Derrida’s words, we would open the door not just for the good person but also for the devil to come in."

Vertigo said...

Non-violence is neither promoted in the Bible, nor was it demonstrated by Jesus. Sometimes, justice requires that we use violence. WW 1 and 2 come to mind as examples of just and necessary wars.

Anonymous said...

What is the objective standard to which we are accountable?

Vertigo said...

Anon,

That is the million dollar question isn't it.

A clarifying question...

-what do you think I mean by an objective standard?

From my line of reasoning, any moral standard must be objective and therefore not in any way dependent on us, the subjects.

That leaves very few options...