Ethical theories

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Absolutist & relativist morality


  • understand the concepts of 'right' & 'wrong' to be ontological dimensions of the Universe
  • morality is something real that can be measured & used as a gauge for analysing one's decisions morally
  • 'absolute' suggests that these Laws are Universal -- unchanging for any person in any place & at any time in history
  • aim of an absolutist is based around the concept of duty & absolutism is closely linked to the deontological approach, wherein the right to do is to do one's duty
  • tend to have a priori approach, holds that moral knowledge is available prior to situation in which a decision should be made
    • fewer arguments/debates
    • establishes clear rules
    • easy to follow -- clear guidance
    • easier to apply
    • overcomes problem of forseen consequences
    • can't be clouded by subjective judgement
    • based on reason & logic
    • doesn't consider different circumstances or cultural attitudes
    • how does


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