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Moral Relativism

Moral Relativism

First slideshow for a course on Environmental Ethics.

GeorgeMatthews

February 19, 2017
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  1. On Ethical Relativism George Matthews CC 2017

  2. question of the day

  3. question of the day Is ethics just a matter of

    opinion?
  4. Should you care about endangered species . . . Toronto

    Star
  5. or hunt them for fun? Huffington Post

  6. Should you drive a hybrid . . . Grappone Toyota

  7. or roll coal? inverse.com

  8. Is climate change an urgent concern . . . Huffington

    Post
  9. or liberal fear-mongering? Grist

  10. Ethical Relativsm

  11. Ethical Relativsm claims

  12. Ethical Relativsm claims ! Value judgments are inherently subjective.

  13. Ethical Relativsm claims ! Value judgments are inherently subjective. !

    Rationality is of limited use in resolving ethical conflicts.
  14. Ethical Relativsm claims ! Value judgments are inherently subjective. !

    Rationality is of limited use in resolving ethical conflicts. ! Membership in a community determines our values.
  15. Ethical Relativsm claims ! Value judgments are inherently subjective. !

    Rationality is of limited use in resolving ethical conflicts. ! Membership in a community determines our values. This is where our thinking about ethics begins . . . must it end there as well?
  16. The Standard Argument

  17. The Standard Argument Members of different groups make different value

    judgments, that’s what defines them as different groups.
  18. The Standard Argument Members of different groups make different value

    judgments, that’s what defines them as different groups. Thus no one group can claim to have the correct set of values.
  19. The Standard Argument Members of different groups make different value

    judgments, that’s what defines them as different groups. Thus no one group can claim to have the correct set of values. Does this even follow logically?
  20. Consequences

  21. Consequences If relativism is true . . .

  22. Consequences If relativism is true . . . ! There

    are no moral absolutes.
  23. Consequences If relativism is true . . . ! There

    are no moral absolutes. ! There is no condemning evil.
  24. Consequences If relativism is true . . . ! There

    are no moral absolutes. ! There is no condemning evil. ! Moral progress makes no sense.
  25. Problems

  26. Problems

  27. Problems ! Are communities as well defined as relativism needs

    them to be?
  28. Problems ! Are communities as well defined as relativism needs

    them to be? ! Don’t we also think for ourselves about what’s right?
  29. Problems ! Are communities as well defined as relativism needs

    them to be? ! Don’t we also think for ourselves about what’s right? ! We have different opinions about many things, but this does not entail a general lack of truth.
  30. Can one even be a relativist?

  31. Can one even be a relativist?

  32. Can one even be a relativist? ! Global skepticism is

    incoherent – we can’t claim to deny all knowledge without claiming to know something.
  33. Can one even be a relativist? ! Global skepticism is

    incoherent – we can’t claim to deny all knowledge without claiming to know something. ! Appeals to tolerance or the right to have an opinion are appeals to moral universals.
  34. Can one even be a relativist? ! Global skepticism is

    incoherent – we can’t claim to deny all knowledge without claiming to know something. ! Appeals to tolerance or the right to have an opinion are appeals to moral universals. ! We all belong to many groups that make conflicting moral demands on us.
  35. Common Ground?

  36. Common Ground? all cultures . . .

  37. Common Ground? all cultures . . . ! Honor the

    dead.
  38. Common Ground? all cultures . . . ! Honor the

    dead. ! Protect the group.
  39. Common Ground? all cultures . . . ! Honor the

    dead. ! Protect the group. ! Distinguish justified from unjustified homicide.
  40. Common Ground? all cultures . . . ! Honor the

    dead. ! Protect the group. ! Distinguish justified from unjustified homicide. ! Distribute of benefits and burdens according to rules.
  41. Common Ground? all cultures . . . ! Honor the

    dead. ! Protect the group. ! Distinguish justified from unjustified homicide. ! Distribute of benefits and burdens according to rules. How we implement these values is subject to debate, evaluation and revision.