Ethical relativism is the theory that there are no universalized moral standards to apply to all people all the time. The relativity of ethics refers to the ethics may be different in different societies. The same situation and behavior may be morally acceptable in one society but morally unacceptable in another.
However, this theory is rejected by most ethicists. First of all, some claim that while the moral practices of societies may differ, the fundamental moral principles do not. Different nations, even the same nation in different times, often pursue different or even inverse ethics. However, the differences can only explain that moral has diversity but cannot deny that moral is universal and general. There is no doubt that ethics such as fairness, honest and self-esteem are applicable and essential to all societies at any time which is ignored by ethical relativism.
Furthermore, ethical relativism promotes social inner conformity and causes no room for moral reform or improvement in a society. In addition, members of the same society may hold different views on practices. When the whole society lack of common agreement on certain issues, it’s really hard to declare which is the right behavior. When cross-cultural communication, ethical relativism may provide support for individualism and cause a situation that different social groups only focus on themselves so that go against the agreement with each other.
History development is introduced
Ethical relativism encompasses views and arguments that people in various cultures have held over several thousand years. For example, the ancient Jaina Anekantavada principle of Mahavira (c. 599 – 527 BC) states that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth; and the Greek philosopher Protagoras (c. 481 – 420 BC) famously asserted that "man is the measure of all things". The Greek historian Herodotus