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Author Topic:   A critique of moral relativism
Posts: 1161
From: Hayward, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004

Message 150 of 219 (412448)
07-24-2007 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Rrhain
07-21-2007 3:51 AM

Re: relativism vs absolutism

From your exchange with Mod, I think I understand your position on what moral relativism is and what moral absolutism is.

rrhain writes:

Classic example: Those who claim to be "pro-life." They are often the same people who are for the death penalty. How can it be that they follow the "absolute" claim that all life is sacred if they also feel that people can be put to death? Simple: They don't believe in the absolute they claim to. Instead, they are relativists: In certain situations, life is not to be taken but in other situations, it can be.

rrhain writes:

Why do we allow certain things to adults but not to children?

Because morality is relative. It depends upon the circumstances.

If I understand correctly, you're saying that moral relativism is using context and situation to determine what is right/wrong, and aboslutism (?) is having a set of absolute rules which dictate moral right and wrong?

I don't know classic definitions of these things, but that's not what I had in mind. In my understanding, absolutism means that, given a specific set of circumstances, a “situation”, the set of "morally right" actions is immutable. In this thinking, how to find that set of “morally right” actions may not be straightforward (or maybe not even knowable), and certainly not based on a set of context-free rules, but the set “exists”. Moral relativism, then, is simply the view that, for a given situation, there is no such set of “morally right” actions.

Disregarding whether our meanings of the term “moral relativism” are not matching, do you think all people are moral relativists in the sense that I've described? I believe you'll say “yes”, as their actions still are relativist. In that case, I would say that as I've defined it, these things ARE beliefs. The implementation of such beliefs are a related issue, but one that can seemingly be treated separately, no?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by Rrhain, posted 07-21-2007 3:51 AM Rrhain has not yet responded

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