Ethical Relativism Essay

1614 words - 7 pages

Empire State College

Ethical Relativism

Beau Fletcher
An Introduction to Philosophy
Professor Nicholas Hardaker

The world is an immensely diverse and unique place with societies that are radically different from one another. Relativists argue that there is no universal ethical standard to identify what is right or wrong; instead, it is up to each society to develop a moral standard that is most compatible with their distinctive culture. Ethical Relativism argues that people should act within the moral standards set forth by their specific culture. It is also important to note that a society can evolve (as well as regress) over time, making way for a revised set of moral ...view middle of the document...

Hand gestures and help from her guide solved mystery…The soup was one of their deceased.” I was amazed after reading this story, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at how perfectly his post displayed a real-life scenario of how monumentally different societal norms can be. The moral standards of the aboriginal tribe clearly do not coincide with our own, and could been as grotesque and sickening, but a soup consisting of one of their people is not only completely acceptable, it is reserved for only the most special of occasions.
In an attempt to find relativistic ideals from my peers, I found a post titled, “Ethics Week 2 Discussion,” in which Daniel commented, this time expressing his beliefs. He makes a few great points and at the same time, proved a big downside in the reasoning of the ethical relativism theory. He questioned if whether or not the set of moral standards our society adapted is actually the ‘correct’ way to live your life. When you look at ethical relativism, at first glance you see understanding and respect for each society’s way of doing things. Then you begin to peel back the layers and look within those societies, you may find individuals whose personal beliefs are being repressed, and scolded because ethical relativism does not acknowledge values that differ from those of the societal norm. Daniel goes on to conclude that we don’t even stand a chance in determining our own unique set of ethical standards, as from birth we are taught what is considered the norm in our society. Now, saying that we have pre-determined beliefs and morals is pretty a powerful statement, I can understand and respect how he drew these conclusions. Daniel stands out to me immediately as an ethical relativist, and is, thus far, the most outspoken person that supports the relativist mindset.
My hunt on the discussion board led me back, despite my efforts to diversify, to, “WHAT DOES “GOOD” MEAN.” After reading Jared Cuyler’s post, the emotion and deep-though it provoked was powerful, and really grabbed my interest. Jared talks about how that in societies, including our own, there is the presence of, however miniscule it may be, a definite bias towards all countries apart from our own. His insight on the subject was something I had never even considered. Is it possible that school curriculum mislead us, however slight it may have been, in a way so that we were not able to fully understand the entirety of a certain historical event or conflict? After reliving my years sitting through history class, and viewing them from Jared’s perspective, I cannot say without lying to myself that I do not have my doubts. Did we spend hours upon hours learning the world’s history with the United States of America perched up on an unjustified pedestal, giving us the misconception that we really are above the every single other country in the world? …. I should slow down and refocus myself before I spend the rest of my paper diving into what you just witnessed...

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