Relativism and objectivity in ethics

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A philosophical argument

A philosophical argument is a collection of claims that must be supported by others. The premise and conclusion are the fundamental components of an argument. The first component, the premise, is a statement that serves as evidence to support the conclusion and explains why the assertion should be accepted. The conclusion is the second basic part; it is the assertion supported by the premise and can be called the proven form of ethics.

The four C's utilized in evaluating moral premises

The four C's utilized in evaluating moral premises: Clarity necessitates a more thorough interpretation of an agreed-upon statement; coherence promotes evaluation of the extent of our moral beliefs; consistency that monitors conflict between amoral principle and fundamentals held moral institutions, and finally completeness is a criterion of how the theory in question covers our moral problems, decision, and the general moral life.

Ethical persons are shaped by their values

Ethical persons are shaped by their values. Moral values are the key guidelines that the evaluation of an individual of right versus wrong is based. They are used in justification of decision, actions or even intentions. Moral values enhanced ethical morality in the societies where they were practiced and considered ethical.

Ethical relativism

Ethical relativism is the theory that considers what is right to be right and what is wrong to be wrong (Shafer-Landau, 2014). However, what may be considered right in one society may be unethical in another society hence is relative to a specific society according to Sumner.

Impartiality and ethical egoism

According to Shaw (2006), an individual practice of ethical egoism lacks impartiality which is necessary for ethical theory. Natural rights were the main hindrance to the accordance of women with equity they were seeking for. Impartiality, equality, and equity majorly affected women in the societies who had to a bid by what was considered ethical by the male elders in the society.

Section 2

a) Ethics is more than just a matter of opinion as viewed by many individuals. It has for many years been considered as emotivism and it is contemplated in support that the philosophers have no ethical knowledge at all with their moral concept denoting neither non-natural nor natural properties.

Ethical knowledge and language

Ethical knowledge and language are used by philosophers in the expression of emotions or in evoking responses that are emotional in the listeners. In relation to the nature of morality, philosophers have been trying to make variations on the traditional meta-ethical position to make them work and its only analysis of ethical language that can solve the justification issues we face.

Nature of ethical discourse

Morality is necessary and waits to be apprehended by the philosophers, obligations and duties, wrongness and rightness are found within the world and apart from the attitudes, human minds, and society, some objective of "oughtness" is presumed to exist (Shaw, 2006). Ethical conduct should be viewed as prescribed objective that is independent of history and society with its values to be considered the world's furniture since they aid in locating normative within the thinking of human and practices. Whether implicitly or explicitly, moral values and standards are not things to be discovered but be laid down and adopted.

Legitimacy of ethical standards

Nature of ethical discourse involves a commitment to rational benevolence, impartiality and liberty as the ultimate principles and the legitimacy of our ethical standards can be shown by answering the relativist, and changing the general perspective view on morality by being on the look for the moral principles that can be defended given the nature of our present moral system and the object morality.

Ethical relativism

b) Ethical relativism is a theory which supports that morality is relative to the characters of a person's culture and practices. The moral norms of the society dictate whether an action is right or wrong and differ between the societies with a phenomenon being viewed as wrong considered as good in another society. It is a popular meta-ethical approach to holding because it argues that there are no ethical standards which are independent of the context of the culture and it is only the society in question that can determine whether a case is wrong or right(Shaw, 2006).

Critics of ethical relativism

Critics argue that some moral beliefs such as decency and dressing are relative to the culture while others are not. These customs may depend on the custom of the local society while other practices such as torture and slavery may be controlled by moral standards that are universal which may be wrongly judged.

Opposition to ethical relativism

Ethical relativism faces opposition with some critics claiming that while there is a difference in the moral practices in the societies, the main difference underlying the moral practices does not. An example is the killing of the aged which is accepted in other society but at the same time being condemned in other (Rorty, 1991). Neither our society nor I would accept such a practice since the old should be cared for since they are viewed as parents and without them, there would be a loss of a generation.


Rorty, R. (1991). Objectivity, relativism and the truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shafer-Landau, R. (2014). Fundamentals of ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shaw, H. W. (2006). Relativism and objectivity in ethics. In H. Giersson and M. Holmgren (Eds.), Ethical Theory: A Concise Anthology (pp. 12-32). Peterborough: Broadview Press.

June 12, 2023

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