Ethics-Moral Relativism
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
28-02-2011, 02:07 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(27-02-2011 10:12 AM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  
(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.

Right.

Quote: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.

Wrong.

What you are describing is a specific subset of morally relativistic philosophy. You're talking about normative relativism, which is considered by many to be logically incoherent (there is no "ought", because there is no universal standard, so we "ought" to treat everyone's actions as morally equal).

Most moral relativists - myself included - do not subscribe to this position. All that is required to be a moral relativist is that you don't believe in objective morality.

Quote: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.

They can be seen as objective, yes. It's just not correct.

Even in your given example, relativism comes into play. Obviously the people performing the act considered that it was the moral thing to do - they were punishing someone who had transgressed, after all, and they weren't transgressing themselves. In their own moral code, they were doing the right thing. It's your moral code that they violated, not theirs.

You accept Kant's moral framework. They apparently don't.

Like it or not, morality is relative. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-03-2011, 12:37 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2011 01:10 AM by cfhmagnet.)
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
I do like Kant, but not as an end all be all. I'm still developing my moral theory, that's why I began this thread. You make a good point Unbeliever, and a hard one to attack. Let me ask you this question though. Do you accept the punishment they meted out to that boy, and by extension his family/sister? How does it make you feel? Was it ok?

Something something something Dark Side
Something something something complete
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-03-2011, 03:52 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
They way I've heard Matt D. describe it is that you think slavery isn't always definitely wrong, and can be morally acceptible to some people (correct me if I'm wrong), which I more or less agree with. People can find slavery or other moral actions to be acceptible, but I find slavery repugnant, I can't think of a scenario wherein slavery is acceptible, but someone else could.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-03-2011, 09:16 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(04-03-2011 12:37 AM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  Let me ask you this question though. Do you accept the punishment they meted out to that boy, and by extension his family/sister? How does it make you feel? Was it ok?

No, angry, and no, respectively.

Morality being subjective doesn't mean morality doesn't exist. We should still point out things that we think are wrong and work to change them.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-03-2011, 07:33 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(04-03-2011 09:16 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(04-03-2011 12:37 AM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  Let me ask you this question though. Do you accept the punishment they meted out to that boy, and by extension his family/sister? How does it make you feel? Was it ok?

No, angry, and no, respectively.

Morality being subjective doesn't mean morality doesn't exist. We should still point out things that we think are wrong and work to change them.
Another good answer. Glad you joined the thread good sir. Where do you think morality comes from then? What gives us the right to say that certain things are wrong, and then to go and change them?

My thought is, morality comes from our basic rights (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) combined with our rational nature. In short, the respect that each human being deserves seems to have rationally intuitive answers to problem situations that arise. The reason why I don't believe everyday morality is relative is because I believe that the answer that is found through a TRULY logical path will be the same for every person who looks for it. You can see where this gives us power to speak out against wrongs, but I am troubled when it comes to figuring out how to deal with certain crimes and immoral acts. From where do we get the right or privilege or power to punish somebody?

Something something something Dark Side
Something something something complete
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-03-2011, 10:59 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(04-03-2011 07:33 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  Another good answer. Glad you joined the thread good sir. Where do you think morality comes from then?

Society at large.

Quote:What gives us the right to say that certain things are wrong, and then to go and change them?

"Right"? Who said anything about "right"? Aside from rights given to us by our societies (and even those might not count, as they are not objective either), there are no rights. We just can. Nothing says that it's right to do so. Or wrong.

Quote:My thought is, morality comes from our basic rights (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) combined with our rational nature.

That might be where your morality comes from, but it isn't necessarily where anyone else's does. It's where I get my moral code (or most of it, anyway), but it certainly isn't universal.

Quote:The reason why I don't believe everyday morality is relative is because I believe that the answer that is found through a TRULY logical path will be the same for every person who looks for it.

Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Morality isn't logical. It doesn't stem from logic or reason. At its core, it's just a social convention. A bunch of people got together and said "Okay, so, you don't kill me and I won't kill you," dressed it up in fancy languages and declared that there was some sort of "right" to life.

If someone accepts the same premises about what is morally right and wrong that you do, and you are both perfectly logical, then yes, they'll get the same answers about what is right and what is wrong. But ultimately, there is no rational basis for your beliefs about morality. You - and every other human on the planet - is simply declaring "okay, we are all going to consider X 'wrong', okay?", and hoping that everyone will agree with them, and then attempting to fool themselves into thinking that this has any basis whatsoever in logic.

Because logic has nothing to do with morality. It might have something to do with the decisions that you make within a certain moral framework, but it has nothing to do with the construction of the framework. The creation of a moral code is nothing but you coming forward and saying "I consider X wrong". You have no basis for claiming so except that you don't like X. There is no universal standard for "wrong".

Quote:You can see where this gives us power to speak out against wrongs, but I am troubled when it comes to figuring out how to deal with certain crimes and immoral acts. From where do we get the right or privilege or power to punish somebody?

"Right"? Nowhere. We don't have any "rights" to punish anyone. But that doesn't mean we can't do it.

Privilege and power are much simpler. Guns. We have guns and we have laws and we have the people who know how to use the guns, and we have the money to pay those people to use the guns to punish the people who don't obey the laws.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-03-2011, 03:06 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(04-03-2011 07:33 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  My thought is, morality comes from our basic rights (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) combined with our rational nature.?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are man-made ideals, they are not universal rights, they are legal rights written into the laws of only a few countries. A few hundred years ago they didn't exist in any country's laws or constitution.

We don't have a rational nature. All rationality is a learned thing. Kids can do some extremely dangerous or cruel things without having a clue as to the consequences. If we had a rational nature we would not need to teach them not to do those things, they would figure it out, themselves.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-03-2011, 04:25 AM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
The way I see it, morality stems from empathy, which is not logical, but evolutionary. There's nothing saying that all members of a single species should come to the same conclusion of whats right and wrong based on the fact they evolved morality from empathy. Empathy is why we don't like certain things, but some people don't have empathy, leading them towards sometimes vastly different conclusions about what is morally acceptible. Morality is by no means set in stone.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-03-2011, 04:19 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(04-03-2011 10:59 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  "Right"? Who said anything about "right"? Aside from rights given to us by our societies (and even those might not count, as they are not objective either), there are no rights. We just can. Nothing says that it's right to do so. Or wrong.
Do you consider rights and freedom to be the same or different? I can see them as at least related, if not the same, given a qualifier or two. Because I believe it was Locke's theory of government that stated that when we form a government we give up some of our rights/freedoms for particular benefits. This theory states that the government doesn't give us our rights, we give some of them up to the government for protection, aid, etc.

Quote:Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Morality isn't logical. It doesn't stem from logic or reason. At its core, it's just a social convention. A bunch of people got together and said "Okay, so, you don't kill me and I won't kill you," dressed it up in fancy languages and declared that there was some sort of "right" to life.

If someone accepts the same premises about what is morally right and wrong that you do, and you are both perfectly logical, then yes, they'll get the same answers about what is right and what is wrong. But ultimately, there is no rational basis for your beliefs about morality. You - and every other human on the planet - is simply declaring "okay, we are all going to consider X 'wrong', okay?", and hoping that everyone will agree with them, and then attempting to fool themselves into thinking that this has any basis whatsoever in logic.

Because logic has nothing to do with morality. It might have something to do with the decisions that you make within a certain moral framework, but it has nothing to do with the construction of the framework. The creation of a moral code is nothing but you coming forward and saying "I consider X wrong". You have no basis for claiming so except that you don't like X. There is no universal standard for "wrong".
I understand your thought that convention causes moral code. But why do you say it doesn't stem from logic or reason? It can, and for many, it has. What I have read on ethics and morality has been put together very well with very rational arguments. Aristotle used a telelogical argument. I'm reading Kant, and he has a deontological, or duty-based rational. He does assume certain premises, true, but he comes up with a very well thought out moral code. He doesn't order you on how to live your life, or that you are good or bad, but he does lay down an excellent moral theory

Quote:"Right"? Nowhere. We don't have any "rights" to punish anyone. But that doesn't mean we can't do it.

Privilege and power are much simpler. Guns. We have guns and we have laws and we have the people who know how to use the guns, and we have the money to pay those people to use the guns to punish the people who don't obey the laws.
Sad but true.

I do want to make sure I clarify, I'm not arguing there is a moral code everyone agrees on that makes it universal. I'm just arguing that certain things (ex: an unprovoked, unjustified murder) are universally immoral. I will attempt to reply to others later, for now, work calls.

Something something something Dark Side
Something something something complete
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-03-2011, 07:10 PM
RE: Ethics-Moral Relativism
(05-03-2011 04:19 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  This theory states that the government doesn't give us our rights, we give some of them up to the government for protection, aid, etc.
Try living without some sort of system for rules, regulations and protection (aka. a government) and see how long it is before some group assumes or takes control and issues you no rights at all.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: