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Moral Relativism

Key Words:

Subjective ­ a particular point of view, dependent on the subject: personal POV
Emotivism ­ idea that moral judgements and just expressions of moral agents feelings and
not factual statements.

Historical Context:

Early differences in approaches to morality have led to divisions in ethics, main ones…

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Moral Relativism is more practical/pragmatic than absolutism. Governments work from this
principle. Consider the NHS who have limited resources/facilites, would it not be more
practical to use those limited resources/facilities on younger patients who have a longer life
ahead of them rather spending millions on keeping old patients alive…

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principles. Basic principles can be universal e.g. idea of charity/love or they can be specific to
that society. Hence, a society creates its own moral pyramids by logical deductions from first
principles. As different societies have different basic principles, each society will have a
different moral pyramid.

Subjective Relativism:


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Moral Absolutism

Main Features of Moral Absolutism:

Universal Truth:

Moral absolutism holds that some things are intrinsically wrong. This means they are right and
wrong in all cultures, at all times in all situations.


Certain things are wrong from an objective point of view and cannot change according to…

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Allows different societies to share Takes no account of cultural differences
values where moral laws can differ
Allows societies to evaluate morals of a Not flexible/pragmatic
different society ­ Before it was Takes no account of individual lifestyles
possible for Genocide to take place Takes no account of the situation…


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