Moral relativism

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  • Created by: Abena
  • Created on: 09-05-13 23:12
  • Ethical relativism - there are NO universally valid moral principles 
    • all values and principles are relative to a particular culture or age (time)
    • there is no such thing as 'good in itself' 
    • If an action seems 'good' to me but 'bad to you, there is no objective way of discovering the truth 
    • The problem with relativism today: it leads people to the belief that the truth depends on who holds it/ there is one truth - their own. > truth then no longer matters
  • everything depends on the community to which one belongs or, one's own perspective
    • Where there is no agreed set of values, relativism can seem very attractive


  • Realativism can be traced back to Ancient Greece > time of Homer (when being 'good' meant being a heroic worrior, the type of person you were - noble, courageous, strong, etc - was most important)
  • This developed in the early writtings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, who looked at the ideas of CHARACTER and VIRTUE
  • but by the 6th Century BCE everything began to change > there was no moral certainty
  • Alisdair MacIntyre in his writtings noted that this was because of the discovery of new civilisations with different ideas of what it meant to be good > led Greeks to question the absolutness…


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