Ethical Relativism Essay

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Ethical Relativism What is right and wrong is a widely opinionated discrepancy among the human race. It varies between cultures, societies, religions, traditions, and an endless number of influential factors. Ethical relativism is described by John Ladd as the “doctrine that the moral rightness and wrongness of actions varies from society and that there are no absolute universal moral standards binding on all men at all times. Accordingly, it holds that whether or not it is right for an individual to act in a certain way depends on or is relative to the society to which he belongs”(Pojman, 24). Within the meaning of ethical relativism we can derive two theses: cultural relativism and the dependency thesis. Ethical relativism is a problematic theory because there are so many differences within cultures, and individual choices might not always be morally right choices. Because of this, what is culturally acceptable is not always morally right. Ethical relativism also has some objections towards the more specific theories of subjectivism and conventionalism. Ethical relativism is supported due to the narrowing view of ethnocentrism, which is causing great “prejudice tantamount to racism and sexism” (Pojman, 25). Society is moving away from their ethnocentric view of the world, which allows for a more diverse cultural of right and wrong. Moral positions are based on what their society sees as ideal norms. The first of two theses is cultural relativism, “what is considered morally right and wrong varies from society to society”(Pojman, 26), meaning that there is no universal morals, which are accepted by all societies. In some cultures it might be morally acceptable to value slavery, genocide, or female circumcision. Even though one may not like or approve these practices, a cultural relativist must say this is acceptable because these practices are deemed as being

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