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Write an Essay Describing the Problem of Moral Relativism and Subjectivism. Do You Think That Either Moral Realism or Moral Rationalism Could Provide a Solution?

Autor:   •  January 21, 2012  •  Essay  •  942 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,707 Views

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It is a common view that morality is seen as something that has to do primarily with values and opinions on ethical issues that surround us. In ancient Greece, Socrates gave rise to ethical issues, followed by his student Plato and his Dialogues. Sophists, which are a group of philosophers who taught rethoric, believed that morailty reflects subjective opinions and desires, that is opinions and desires which are not based on facts but rather on personal experiences and beliefs. On the other hand, Plato and his teacher Socrates believed that morality is objective, that is, it bases itself on facts and on the nature of things.

Moral relativism is the idea that all ethical views are relative to a particular culture or belief. There are no right or wrong actions because it is all just a matter of cultural difference. To explain this matter better, I will use the example Gordon Graham uses in his book, that is the Greek and Callatian Cultures in Ancient Greece. Greek customs asked that the dead should be burnt. For the Greeks this was the absolute right thing to do. On the other hand, Callatian culture saw this act as totally wrong; in their culture, they were used to eat their dead, and for them that was the absolute right thing to do. Nowadays, moral disagreement doesn't occur on whether we should burn or eat our dead, but we have much more serious issues like abortion and euthanasia. Everyone has their own personal view on such matters, but the disagreement lies in the issue's morality.

Moral Relativism also holds that there is no moral absolute in ethical issues. It is pointless to ask whether something is good or bad because there is no good or bad in the abstract. Goodness or badness lies within the concept itself. What is meant by this is that when we talk about something bad, like rape for example, it is useless asking if rape is good or bad. This is because the actual badness lies within the idea of rape, and not the action in itself. When one asks “why?” to a statement like “Rape is bad”, you find yourself with a loop of why's for every answer the other person gives. You cannot express the badness in rape. It is just within the concept.

Subjectivism is a step further into relativism. Whereas relativism is culture-based, subjectivism is more individual-based. Relativism has to do with a culture and traditions, a community as a whole, while subjectivism has more to do with what an individual, or social group, thinks.

A way of dealing with problems risen by moral relativism and subjectivism is moral realism . This branch of morality accepts the fact that there are in fact solid moral facts which can, and should, be acted upon. This ethical view holds that, for example, good and bad, evil


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