Arguments Against Moral Relativism

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Maria K.
Philosophy
Mar. 6, 2012

Arguments Against Moral Relativism

Moral relativism is the belief that the morally correct decision to make, when faced with a moral dilemma, is the one that is acceptable within the context of a given culture. This means that the correct decision varies depending on the culture in which one makes it. Today, with great variability between societies and cultures, moral relativism is greatly accepted as a matter-of-fact, but this is not necessarily the case. Relativism between different cultures is not truly possible because of the foundational common beliefs that all human beings share.

In today’s western culture, it has become imperative that we be politically correct and culturally sensitive when talking about other cultures so as to avoid offending their practices and beliefs. This is the reason why moral relativism has been widely accepted by many, but, with further analysis, one discovers that this is not true. In an accepting society, many gaps are left when issues between cultures arise. These issues are not necessarily evident in common, everyday situations, but in extreme situations, these issues become clearer. For example, one country lives according to their morals, aiming to be kind, civil, and non-violent. A neighboring country’s morals differ greatly, and they are barbaric and violent, and decide to conquer their neighboring country. This leaves the first country in an awkward position; are they meant to remain true to their moral beliefs and remain non-violent when the invaders come, or are they meant to betray their beliefs and fight for their freedom and safety? This situation illustrates the unrealistic nature of moral relativism. The first country cannot be expected to remain passive while they are conquered and pillaged by their neighbors. The previous example also illustrates how moral relativism can go against natural instincts. As human beings, the people of that country have innate senses to...
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