Moral relativism has a more important role in determining the course of human conduct than ethical absolutism. Examine.
Define ethical absolutism and moral relativism
Discuss how moral relativism gives importance to human values
Mention few disadvantages of moral relativism
Conclude with a balanced approach
Ethical absolutism is the belief that there are universal ethical standards that apply to every situation. It is based on the objective rules that are to be followed in behavioural conduct, are based on the fixed notions of good and bad.
Moral relativism is the view that truth and falsity, right and wrong, standards of reasoning, and procedures of justification are products of differing conventions and their authority is confined to the context giving rise to them. It is a philosophy that asserts there is no absolute law that applies to all people, for all time, and in all places.
Moral relativism takes into account the reason why something happens and tries to understand event through a more humane approach such as:
It allows for the diversity that is present in the world.
It understands that life is not black and white.
Cultures may believe that their practices are more justifiable than other cultural practices, but by using a relativist approach, this will allow for acceptance between different people.
For example, restrictions on internet services and curb after the abrogation of Art 370 can be justified on the grounds of maintaining public order whereas the absolutist would say that any restriction of free speech is not right, even when it results in loss of life.
However, there are certain issues involved with moral relativism
In moral relativism, everybody gets to determine right or wrong for him or herself. It provides an “escape route” from following ethical conduct.
Moral Relativism also ultimately reduces the meaning of what is ‘good’ to ‘what is socially acceptable’. For example, if a culture allows wife-beating, then relativism would also have to say that wife-beating is morally acceptable.
It may be more difficult to decide when the rules need to be changed in different circumstances.
In cases of civil laws, people often follow ethical absolutism in the sense of categorical imperative of Kantian absolutist ethics. Generally, it is in the case of life issues moral relativism is followed more as people action is guided by :
Family and peer group values
The changes and pluralism in different societies has led to moral relativism in the choices of life issues. But in the case of certainty, people still uphold the premise of ethical behavioural standards.