Explain moral relativism
Moral relativism is the belief that no action is intrinsically right or wrong; the outcome of the action and the situation in which it is performed determine the act’s morality. Relativism is a subjective view of ethics, as it is opinion based and accommodates the varying perspectives of each individual. Moral relativism is teleological because it takes the situation into account and is consequentialist, meaning it uses the consequences of a deed to evaluate whether it is good or not. If the outcome of an action is positive, a relativist would hold the view that this makes the action itself morally good. An example of moral relativism is tolerating theft due to exceptional circumstances. If a homeless person was starving and needed food to survive, a relativist viewpoint would be that stealing food is preferable to death, making the theft morally acceptable. The thief’s intentions were good, and the outcome was good because they didn’t starve, therefore the act (stealing) was good. In relativism there is no fixed set of rules or definite moral code, meaning it is completely open to interpretation by the individual. This allows it to be used in a court of law; particularly on the side of the defence to excuse a crime. It uses the argument that everybody’s perspective is different therefore someone’s views on morality being different may cause them to behave a certain way. Relativism can be applied to every situation and allows each individual to uphold their own set of beliefs, encompassing everyone’s opinion. In relativism, no view is right or wrong; one act may be wrong for you whilst still being right for someone else. An example of this is abortion: a Catholic may argue that abortion is murder and is therefore morally wrong; however an atheist may not value an embryo’s life as of equal value to other humans, and say abortion is acceptable. Relativism does not condemn either view, incorporating the idea that “one man’s meat is another...
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