Compare absolute and relative morality Essay
Compare absolute and relative morality
There are two types of morality, absolute morality and relative morality. An absolutist believes that certain things are always right or wrong no matter the consequences or situation, while a relativist is more concerned with outcomes and believes something is either right or wrong based in certain circumstances or situations.
An absolute command is a command that is true all the time, in all places and all situations. An absolutist thinks about what is the right thing of itself, for example murder, because killing someone regardless of the consequences of an action or the results might occur. this means they approach is deontological. The system is simple and easy to apply, as a crime will be a crime regardless of the circumstances. An example is stealing, stealing is always wrong no matter the culture of the person, what the reasons were or when it happened make no difference; stealing is universally wrong and everybody knows that.
There are many strengths to absolutism. firstly, because certain things are neither judged right or wrong in all situations, it makes it easier to apply than relativism. for example, in absolutism, if someone was to steal, it would be seen as wrong, while in relativism if someone steals, it might be, because they cannot afford food for their baby, so all other circumstances need to be taken into account. Also, it enable us to have a UN Declaration of human rights, as it provides a universal code to measure everything against.
However, there are many weakness to absolutism as ethics are deontological which means that it pays no regard to the outcome or consequences of an action, so for example, if a poor mother stole food to feed her hungry child, this act would be judged wrong, because absolute ethics believe a crime is a crime, even though surely the stealing is for outcome and her child’s life is more important. Also no one can really know what absolute morals are since all sources of morality are open up to people’s opinions and own interpretation.
However relative morality judge things relative to the situation. it means there are no universally moral principles and there is no objective truth and if there is it cannot be found. There are many advantages to relativist, such as it is flexible and takes everyone’s opinion into account, as it is based on peoples’ point of view, so no one is wrong and it also takes certain circumstances into account. For example a relativist may believe abortion is wrong, but if a poor mother with hardly any money is pregnant they might allow abortion then, because it avoids the mother bringing a child into the world and giving it a bad life, so with relativism they are more concerned with the outcome.
However, there are a number disadvantages to relativism, such as it is very difficult to apply, as judgements are always subjective and based and influenced by peoples’ thoughts, feeling and opinions, so everyone’s ideas of what is right and wrong will be different. Relativism is a lot more difficult to apply than absolutism. Also some acts have always wrong like genocide, so relativism doesn’t allow moral progress.
In conclusion, absolute ethics and relativist ethics ways of judgement are both very different, both having lots of disadvantages and advantages. however in my opinion relativist judgements are better, because they take certain situations into account and acts like abortion cannot be wrong.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 11 September 2017
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