Brief discussion of moral relativism

Brief discussion of moral relativism

This short set of slides is for an Introduction to Philosophy course at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Talking about moral relativism wasn't originally a topic for the course, but it was coming up in class so I made a few slides and dedicated some time in a later class to talk about it.

I forgot to put a license on these slides: they are licensed CC BY 4.0

philosophy
ethics
morality
moral theory
moral relativism
ethical relativism

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Christina Hendricks

March 07, 2018
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Transcript

  1. MORAL RELATIVISM: OVERVIEW & DISCUSSION PHIL 102, Spring 2018

  2. Moral relativism is different than saying people disagree A descriptive

    claim about morality: Different groups have different views of what is morally right and wrong and the fundamental principles of morality Group 1 X is morally right X is wrong, Y is right Group 2 X & Y are wrong Group 3
  3. Moral Relativism • “The truth or falsity of moral judgments

    … is not absolute or universal, but is relative to the traditions, convictions, or practices of a group of persons.” o Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Moral Relativism • No “single moral code has universal validity”; “moral truth and justifiability…are in some way relative to factors that are culturally and historically contingent” (Wong 442). o David Wong, “Relativism.” A Companion to Ethics, Ed. Peter Singer. Cambridge, Mass: Basil Blackwell, 1991.
  4. Moral Relativism diagram Group 1 X is morally right X

    is wrong, Y is right Group 2 X & Y are wrong Group 3 OBJECTIVE TRUTH ABOUT MORALITY
  5. Moral objectivism • “Moral judgments are ordinarily true or false

    in an absolute or universal sense” o Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Moral Relativism • “There are moral norms whose correctness … is independent of the moral norms a culture does or might accept, and thus they express universally valid moral standards …” (Timmons 41). o Timmons, Mark. Moral Theory: An Introduction. Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.
  6. Moral Objectivism Diagram Group 1 X is morally right X

    is wrong, Y is right Group 2 X & Y are wrong Group 3 OBJECTIVE TRUTH ABOUT MORALITY
  7. COMMONLY DISCUSSED ISSUES WITH MORAL RELATIVISM

  8. Criticizing the actions of those not in your group •

    If another group does what you think of as immoral what can you say as a moral relativist? • Can there be “human rights”?
  9. Criticizing your own group’s views • Can you criticize the

    moral views of your own group? • What about claims to moral progress? • Sort of like Plato’s Euthyphro: o are things morally right because our group they are, or should our group think of morality according to what is morally right?
  10. Point of moral discussion seems lost • Why have conversations

    with others inside or outside our group about what’s morally right? o Inside: what’s right is just what our group says o Outside: what’s right is just what their group says