Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's all Relative!

Posted by Teresa at 1:36 PM
There are some people out there that believe that morality
is relative. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (at
least I'm not quoting Wikipedia!) defines moral relativity:

Most often it is associated with an empirical thesis that there
are deep and widespread moral disagreements and a metaethical
thesis that the truth or justification of moral judgments is not
absolute, but relative to some group of persons.

Without a doubt there is moral diversity but just because
that is so it does not mean there are certain moral absolutes
that we should all try to live by. Then moral relativists will
say which moral absolutes should we live by? One can argue
there are justifications for someone going against absolutes,
for example, lying. It is morally justifiable to lie if it will
save an innocent person's life and I'm sure one can find other
ethical justifications to lie. There always seems to be good
exceptions to good rules. That is why I am not a moral absolutist.
But let's not go to the other extreme and say that truth is relative.
That is certainly a dangerous road to walk on.

Saying that truth is relative to a certain group or person is scary
to me. To me it is almost like saying truth lies within ourselves.
I know I'm an extremely faulty person myself and I am by no
means a purveyor of truth. I've also notice that moral relativists
also try to use their theory in order to not make moral judgments
(this might be a bad observation). Thus, making people who make
moral judgments as, well, judgmental and intolerant of others.
People need to make moral judgments! What do you think judges
and our law is for?

I understand that in some issues one cannot be so certain on what
is the morally right thing to do. It is hard determining what we ought
to do and there is a certain laziness to relativity. But that doesn't mean
right or wrong is proportional to a people group or an individual.

Earlier this week I posted a video of a young woman talking about
Sen. Obama and she was not able to make a declarative statement
. I
believe this has something to do with moral relativity because in this
mind set you cannot be certain of anything so you use terms that
lead to ambivalence. I suffer from this tendency also but I am trying
to improve it. Darn you, "My So-Called Life"!!!

Exit question: Tell me what you think of the theory of moral relativity?


Joshua P. Allem on 7:11 PM, July 21, 2007 said...


I know that things aren't always black and white. Their ARE shades of gray. Some shades of gray are larger in certain subjects than they are in others. But I believe there is an effort out there to force people into believing that ALL things are gray and therefore nothing is truly wrong! With this kind of thinking, all people can do what THEY believe is right in THEIR OWN eyes.

The members of moral relativism love to accuse others of being judgemental. But what they are calling judgementalism is actually simple observation.

For example:

If you get drunk before you crawl behind the wheel of a car, you're probably going to get hurt or hurt someone else. Calling on this isn't being judgemental, it's just being observant because we've seen it happened before.

Joshua P. Allem on 7:13 PM, July 21, 2007 said...

Oh and by the way... What's wrong with quoting Wikipedia? Don't judge me! LOL!

Teresa on 8:11 PM, July 21, 2007 said...

My hope is one day we all will be able to quote Wikipedia and not be judged. Oh, that will be a glorious day.

Jason on 3:20 PM, July 23, 2007 said...

I think the Theory of Moral Relativity is a poor explanation of reality. It's impossible to be strictly a moral relativist. All the shades of gray in life can be judged based on what we know of Right and Wrong. . .which are black and white. I believe all humans have as part of their intrinsic nature something called a conscious that tells them whether or not something is bad. . .something like torturing babies for example. . .is always bad.

(I asked a guy at work last night this very same question, and he said Moral Relativity is a play on words. We discussed this for some time and nothing came of it.)

MlR said...

Strict moral relativity is itself is own absolute moralism. It declares that moral absolutism is always wrong.


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