Does Ethical Relativism Really Exist?

Topics: Morality, Cultural relativism, Culture Pages: 3 (916 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Does Ethical Relativism really exist?

Ethical relativism is based on society and also individual’s desires. With that being said ethical relativism varies from culture to culture and person to person. Does this mean that ethical relativism is any less of a valid theory than other theories? We shall find out in the next 3 pages. Joseph Ratzinger once said “having a clear faith based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself, be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, look like the only attitude acceptable and today’s standards (www.brainyquote.com).

There are two branches of ethical relativism. There is cultural relativism and ethical subjectivism. According to Landau, “Cultural relativism is correct based on moral standards that are relative to cultures or societies.” Ethical subjectivism is morally correct based on what one thinks. This means things can be morally correct based what an individual deems correct and also what a culture deems correct also. This makes it hard to determine either an action is correct or incorrect, because according to this theory what is right for one is correct. I.e. Muslim women cannot show any skin other than their eyes where Americans can wear whatever they are pleased. To Muslims American woman are morally wrong according to their culture. So does this mean Americans are actually wrong for showing “excessive” amounts of skin? No, because according to this theory morality varies from culture to culture.

Ruth Benedict an American anthropologist believes that no culture is any better than any other culture no matter their beliefs. She also believes that every culture has their own distinctions and is unique in their own way. Benedict argues that science forces us to accept ethical relativism (web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web). She also states the claim that what is morally good is what is habitual she...
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