SOC 120 Introductions to Ethics and Social Responsibility
Prof. Thomas Reeder
January 20, 2013
Relativists argue that there is no absolute law that gives guidance as to what is right or wrong. What is ethical or unethical depends on the individual or their culture such that what is unethical to one person can be ethical in another person’s culture. With relativism, one cannot pass judgment on another person’s moral standards using their own standards; they can only accommodate the other person’s point of view as everything is right and ethical relative to a particular culture or even an individual (“Ethics and social responsibility”2010). Goodman (2010) argues that relativism cannot and should not be a standard for morality. Some things are simply wrong regardless of an individual’s beliefs or even culture. Every society determines its rules and compromises and absolute laws cannot be made without compromising some cultures ethical stands; however, principles are principles and some things cannot be relative. Goodman (2010) gives a few areas where the question of ethics should not be left to relativism but a universal standard of ethics should be adopted. These areas include: genocide, politically induced famine and germ warfare; terrorism, hostage taking and child warriors; slavery, polygamy and incest and rape and female genital cutting. Goodman (2010) argues that murder is wrong, simply because it puts an end to a person’s life. Genocide is a moral atrocity and completely wrong not only because it involves elimination of many people but also because it is driven by hatred towards a particular group people. It dehumanizes such people and gives the perpetrator authority to determine who lives and who dies. Some use famine and germ warfare to eliminate humanity. It is an injustice that all of us should stand up and speak against because failing to do so makes us party to the crime. Terrorists target...