Moral Absolutism – The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a novel based in a post-apocalyptic world. It revolves around the life of a father and a son who are struggling to survive. Everything around them is destroyed, filled with ash and stripped of life yet the two continue to move south, towards the sea hoping for better days to come. Their lives are lived in a constant state of fear. Every day spent scavenging for food as they are constantly moving, trying to stay unnoticed and safe. In the world that they live in, survival is the only goal and the concept of morality has become non-existent. Cannibalism is the greatest fear as everyone is a predator. But in this “Barren, silent, godless” (4) world, where “the days more gray each one then what had gone before” (1) and where man is prey to man, the man and the boy hold their ground. They have not yet lost their sense of morality and refuse to resort to a lifestyle that many around them have adapted. To them certain acts are “intrinsically wrong” (O’Brien) and never justifiable. This way of thinking and ethical view resonates with the concept of moral absolutism. This philosophy, built on the foundations of Immanuel Kant’s belief that morality is the ability to act rationally, may be used as an explanation as to why the man and boy stick to their principles. Though, the two have very similar beliefs, the extent to which they follow and believe in them is different as the boy has stronger moral values. Therefore, under Kant’s philosophy, the boy in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is arguably a moral absolutist due to the upbringing and relationship between him and his father as they are both accountable to one another and have a relationship as strong as one between man and God. Absolutism or something that is absolute is a principle that is universally valid, and is viewed without relation to other things. Moral Absolutism is when morality is universally valid and certain principles are viewed...
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