Ethics-Moral Relativism
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26-02-2011, 10:49 PM
Ethics-Moral Relativism
Been surfing a christian forum for a little over a week. One thread on atheists featured somebody claiming that large numbers of atheists are moral relativists. I think moral relativism is BS, and I'm sure many other rational minded people do as well. So let's put it to a test. What do you all think of moral relativism?

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26-02-2011, 11:34 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
Could you define moral relativism?

Observer

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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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27-02-2011, 12:28 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
If morals weren't relative, we would all live by the same moral code. Everyones morality is connected to his/her: physical and mental conditions as a sentient being, up-bringing, programming, learning, conditioning, choices, experiences, etc. Christians are moral relativists, too, only they think that they are choosing the morals of god when they are partly following the crowd and partly making it up themselves. Calling us relative moralists is correct. Denying that they are also relatively moral is hypo-critical BS.

Everything is relative to something else. Some people are tall because others are short. That is "relative stature".

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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27-02-2011, 08:55 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
While I agree that morals have a lot to do with personal perception I do not ascribe to moral relativism, the philosophy is a bit too dogmatic. Different cultures have vast differences and often these differences work. What I think is more the point is that in most cases people create more moral dogmas than are necessary seeing as how the true rules that allow society to work are small. Killing within your society is wrong because it weakens the whole of the society. Speaking out against your society is wrong because it seperates and divides. Willful ignorance of a commonly held rule spoken or not is wrong, because societal laws are developed to maintain the integrity. in short; don't kill our people, don't usurp our people, and follow the laws of our people because they exist for the benifit of all. Those are the morals that are prescribed to everywhere, and how they are followed changes dramatically from place to place. Religions all keep the societal laws while compounding them with other laws seen as benificial to their proposed society.

The big difference today is that the expanding western culture has a global view, but "our people" is still a commonly held belief. Warring countries are viewed in disregard and killed morally because there is an argument, those who debase our laws such as child molestors are harshly punished for crossing lines, and usurping the will of society is often met with great force (Atheists tend to experience this). The big difference nowadays is with the amount of people and places combined into "our people" the moral code has more exemptions.

Moral relativism is to state that those who disregard morals are not immoral. Which in any society is an obvious falseness. Morality is a societal tool, because there is no reason for morals in an individualistic framework.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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27-02-2011, 10:12 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(26-02-2011 11:34 PM)The_observer Wrote:  Could you define moral relativism?
Normative moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal standard of morals to judge any person or society by. The moral relativist does not judge or hold in offense people who commit actions contrary to their own values because they tolerate that the other person or persons just has a different moral code than they do.
(27-02-2011 12:28 AM)No J. Wrote:  If morals weren't relative, we would all live by the same moral code. Everyones morality is connected to his/her: physical and mental conditions as a sentient being, up-bringing, programming, learning, conditioning, choices, experiences, etc. Christians are moral relativists, too, only they think that they are choosing the morals of god when they are partly following the crowd and partly making it up themselves. Calling us relative moralists is correct. Denying that they are also relatively moral is hypo-critical BS.

Everything is relative to something else. Some people are tall because others are short. That is "relative stature".
I like your statement that everything is relative, but I still think there are objective ideas within ethics and morality. I'll give you an example. In our local paper a few years ago there was a story about a young boy who had violated tribal rules in his country (I think it was Pakistan). The tribal elders wanted to punish the boy and inflict shame on his family, so the four of them took turns raping his sister in the name of justice. Just using the ideas of Aristotle and Immanuel Kant, this is universally and objectively wrong because A) rape is an activity that has not virtuous value, and therefore wrong no matter what (Aristotle) B) This activity infringes on the happiness of the girl in particular and the family as a whole (Aristotle) and C) Raping the girl meant using her as a means to an end (pleasure for the tribal elders) and Kant handed down the idea that people are universally to be seen as an end in themselves, never as a mean.
I think that certain issues in ethics and morality can be relative, for example euthanasia, stem cells, abortion, I could go on, but for standard every day living, the rational human being will conform to certain values that can be seen as objective and universal, not relative.

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27-02-2011, 11:29 AM
 
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(26-02-2011 11:34 PM)The_observer Wrote:  Could you define moral relativism?

You'll likely get different definitions from different people.
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27-02-2011, 11:40 AM
 
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
Christians (usually) believe in moral relativism, they just don't know it. All of their morals are subjective to God.
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27-02-2011, 07:38 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(27-02-2011 10:12 AM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  I could go on, but for standard every day living, the rational human being will conform to certain values that can be seen as objective and universal, not relative.

This is where being human comes into play. Certain moral attitudes are based on our wiring as human beings. These moralities are, in part, shared by great apes and other mammals to certaid extents. It is not universal because many other forms of life do not share these morals in any way.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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27-02-2011, 11:25 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(27-02-2011 07:38 PM)No J. Wrote:  
(27-02-2011 10:12 AM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  I could go on, but for standard every day living, the rational human being will conform to certain values that can be seen as objective and universal, not relative.

This is where being human comes into play. Certain moral attitudes are based on our wiring as human beings. These moralities are, in part, shared by great apes and other mammals to certaid extents. It is not universal because many other forms of life do not share these morals in any way.
Well sure, but I'm not including other forms of life. Last time I checked the jury was still out on which forms of life could be considered as acting out of a moralistic bent to begin with.

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28-02-2011, 01:23 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
Morality will always be subjective - because it will always be seen through human eyes.
Human morality can't exist without humans.
If a human dies we consider it bad (depending on the human , but usually it has a negative consequence on society) but if a wolf eats a human it's a good thing because it is fed.

I'd recommend looking up the "Silverfox experiment" on how morality evolves in social species.
http://cbsu.tc.cornell.edu/ccgr/behaviour/Index.htm
http://www.hum.utah.edu/~bbenham/2510%20...riment.pdf

Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel !!!

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