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ETHICAL THEORIES IN A NUTSHELL

UTILITARIANISM: An action is right if it maximises the
overall happiness of all people.
KANTIAN ETHICS: Treat other people the way you'd wish
to be treated and never treat people
as if they were objects or means to an
end.
CULTURAL RELATIVISM: What is right…

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MORAL
ABSOLUTISM AND
MORAL
RELATIVISM

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WHAT IS ETHICAL RELATIVISM?
The theory of ethical relativism holds the principle that there are no universally valid moral
principles ­ all principles and values are relative to a particular culture or era. Ethical relativism
means that there is no such thing as good `in itself', but if an action…

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to stone someone to death for their sexuality, but in other parts of the world, it is the norm. This
is what is known as the diversity thesis ­ because of the diversity across and within cultures
there can be no one true morality. By implication, there is nothing right…

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Ethical beliefs can change when challenged ­ primitive practices do stop.

ABSOLUTE: A principle that is universally binding.
MORAL OBJECTIVISM: Truth is objectively real, regardless of culture.

NORMATIVE ETHICS
CONSEQUENTIALISM: The rightness or wrongness of an act is determined by its
consequences.

This form of ethics is where actions are…

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Pragmatism: A more practical approach to things.
Relativism: Comparative, or in relation.
Positivism: A positive way of thinking.
Personalism: Own point of view (subjective).

Fletcher came up with six fundamental propositions:
`Only one thing is intrinsically good namely love: nothing else at all.'
`The ruling norm of Christian decision making…

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ethical system to apply ­ a crime is a crime, regardless of the circumstances. Absolute ethics
allows judgements to be made about the actions of others. Absolute ethics allows courts of law to
exist and order to be maintained.

WHERE DO THESE ABSOLUTE LAWS COME FROM?
A theist would say…

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