This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Moral Relativism, A History Essay

666 words - 3 pages

Though moral relativism did not become a prominent topic in philosophy or elsewhere until the twentieth century, it has ancient origins. In the classical Greek world, both the historian Herodotus and the sophist Protagoras appeared to endorse some form of relativism (the latter attracted the attention of Plato in the Theaetetus). It should also be noted that the ancient Chinese Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi (formerly spelled Chuang-Tzu) put forward a nonobjectivist view that is sometimes interpreted as a kind of relativism.

Among the ancient Greek philosophers, moral diversity was widely acknowledged, but the more common nonobjectivist reaction was moral skepticism, the view that there is ...view middle of the document...

The main impetus for such a position came from cultural anthropology. Anthropologists were fascinated with the diversity of cultures, and they produced detailed empirical studies of them—especially “primitive,” non-Western ones. Early on anthropologists accepted the assumption of European or Western superiority. But this was challenged by Franz Boas, and his students—in particular, Ruth Benedict, Melville J. Herskovits, and Margaret Mead—explicitly articulated influential forms of moral relativism in the twentieth century. In 1947, on the occasion of the United Nations debate about universal human rights, the American Anthropological Association issued a statement declaring that moral values are relative to cultures and that there is no way of showing that the values of one culture are better than those of another. Anthropologists have never been unanimous in asserting this, and more recently human rights advocacy on the part of some anthropologists has mitigated the relativist orientation of the discipline. Nonetheless, prominent anthropologists such as Richard A. Shweder and the late Clifford Geertz have defended relativist positions in recent years.

An important early bridge from...

Other Essays Like Moral Relativism, a History

Cultural Relativism Essay

942 words - 4 pages cultural relativism is not a viewpoint that necessarily needs to be adopted in regards to moral issues due to its possible lack of empathy for individuals. As a stoic, the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, held the belief that humans should be concerned exclusively with their will because it was undeniably the one thing that they would have complete control over, whereas external events would be beyond one’s control. An intercept from Epictetusâ

What Is Right And Wrong? Essay

1060 words - 5 pages -spanning standard that can be used as a guideline to profess what is right and what is wrong.Our culture has a moral ribbon based upon our beliefs, wants, and history. This ribbon changes over time and redefines what is right and wrong. What was right and good 100 years ago could be and often is wrong or despised today. In the eighteenth century slavery was accepted and flourished as a good thing. People's wealth was defined by the number of

Ethics: Right or Wrong

1025 words - 5 pages can use and striving for more, lays the burden on my shoulders to help those in need up. To pick up anyone who falls along the journey, all in the name of morality and humanity. “A Defense of Moral Relativism” by Ruth Benedict, examines morality. For Benedict, morality is cultural specific and not determined by outside influences. Her study of the Dobuan not sharing their food or yam seeds with their own family members is against everything

Human Rights: Universalists vs Culturalists

1729 words - 7 pages based on culture. The basic conception in understanding morality is the observation that different cultures posses different set of moral values. That is, every culture has erected its own set of values, codes, or principles that it deems as being both true and correct. Most people think and would argue that there is such a thing as being right or wrong, true or false, but cultural relativism suggests that what we call true or right is really

Examine the Following Ideas as They Appear in the Theory of Situation Ethics: * Situation * Conscience * Relativism

598 words - 3 pages Examine the following ideas as they appear in the theory of Situation Ethics: * Situation * Conscience * Relativism First of all, Situation Ethics would produce a situation by setting aside all rules in a situation if love seems to be better served in doing so. Each situation is different and unique therefore reason is required make a moral decision, but only good lies with love. According to Fletcher, the Situationist follows a

In a Business Enviornment, Why Should People Be Moral as Individuals?

1106 words - 5 pages immorally. Moral relativism and moral absolutism both support the conclusions made herein. Moral relativism is the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and therefore subject to a person’s individual choice. (Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2014) Therefore, every individual’s morality is based on the experiences from their own life. Moral absolutism is the ethical belief that there are absolute

Universalism and Human Rights

1449 words - 6 pages .Conclusion Introduction The International protection of Human Rights has been the root of much heated debate in the past century. Scholars from western nations often argue that Human Rights are universal, and that the West should play its part to ensure that the protection of Human rights is implemented on a worldwide scale. The opposing view, however, that of Cultural Relativism, has been recently gaining momentum, especially among prominent

Biological Community

765 words - 4 pages includes animals, | | |plants, species, the earth that in the real world are not considered as having moral values (Webster, 2010). | |Pluralism |Pluralism is the theory that a large amount of groups, not the people as a whole, rule the United States. (Social Studies Help). | |Naturalism

Rawls' Concept Of Justice As Political: A Defense Against Critics

2238 words - 9 pages congruent with our self-understanding within the history of justice as political is not a mere modus vivendi, for it embodies an overlapping consensus that does have a moral basis. Critical reaction to Rawls has been that what is simply a consensus within a tradition of public discourse cannot afford an adequate criteria of moral justification, and that Rawls cannot define the moral basis for justice as fairness without some reference to a

Morals and Critical Thinking

895 words - 4 pages of prejudice. According to the relativism value system no one set of moral values is above another. For example a person that follows these values may believe in premarital sex, but agree that it is all right for someone else to be against it. (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2005) I feel that I lay between these two values systems. In the Hedonism value system I agree that sexual hunger is a need that has to be satisfied. If one do not they

Ethical Theories

1181 words - 5 pages students, are, ethicist’s involved in developing utilitarianism. Social contact is that the persons’ moral or obligations are dependent on a contract or agreement. To be polite, not cheat or lie to one another in marriage, which marriage is like a contract. The ethicists that were involved in this were Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Individual relativism says that is not a universal standard. “All values are subjective

Related Papers

Ethical Relativism Essay

4021 words - 17 pages determined? Philosophers agree and disagree in varied proportions on answers to these questions. It is normal if you disagree too. For the purpose of this paper, an attempt will be made to look into the concept of ethical relativism, its importance and areas of deviation from ethical absolutism. History of Ethical Relativism Though moral relativism did not become a prominent topic in philosophy or elsewhere until the twentieth century, it has

Moral Absolutism Essay

649 words - 3 pages “Moral relativism is a better system than moral absolutism” Moral relativism refers to the normative ethical system which rejects the idea of absolutes and instead believes that “man is the measure of all things”- which was skilfully expressed by Ruth Benedict. The moral relative system surpasses that of moral absolutism and this will be justified throughout this essay. Moral relativist systems exceed moral absolutist systems due to diversity

Ethics Project Notes Essay

637 words - 3 pages abortion was made illegal? How would spontaneous miscarriages be handled under this rule? Under moral absolutism, every miscarriage would have to be criminally investigated. How would this effect the mother who is already distraught over losing her child getting interrogated about her pregnancy? This is why I personally can’t always stand for absolutism although it works out excellent in a lot of situations. Ethical relativism is a view that what is

Ethical Relativism And The Hindu Culture

351 words - 2 pages Ethical Relativism tells us that our moral beliefs tend to reflect the culture in which we grew up in. If this is so, there can be no universal moral standards for us to adhere to as some ethical theories such as Kantianism would have us believe. Because people in different societies make different moral judgments regarding the same action, the argument seems to be, they must accept different moral standards. If this is true, there can be no