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Is It All Relative? Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life Chapter 2.

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Presentation on theme: "Is It All Relative? Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life Chapter 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is It All Relative? Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life Chapter 2

2 Morality as Custom, Heroditus All people think the moral perspective of their culture is correct. All people think the moral perspective of their culture is correct. The anecdote of Darius The anecdote of Darius

3 A Defense of Moral Relativism, Benedict The abnormals of one society are the norms of another society. The abnormals of one society are the norms of another society. Cultural attitudes towards trances, catalepsy, and homosexuality Cultural attitudes towards trances, catalepsy, and homosexuality Cultural diversity forces us to accept moral relativism. Cultural diversity forces us to accept moral relativism.

4 Benedict Morality is simply a term used to denote socially approved habits within a culture. Morality is simply a term used to denote socially approved habits within a culture.

5 A Defense of Cultural Relativism, Sumner The folkways are the customs and mores of a culture, and we think of them as objectively right. The folkways are the customs and mores of a culture, and we think of them as objectively right. The folkways are coercive. The folkways are coercive. Morals are historical, institutional, and empirical. Morals are historical, institutional, and empirical.

6 Sumner All mores of a particular time and place are justified with respect to that particular time and place. All mores of a particular time and place are justified with respect to that particular time and place. Mores appear to be factual. Mores appear to be factual. The mores cannot be objectively proven by philosophical method. The mores cannot be objectively proven by philosophical method.

7 Cultural Relativism and Universal Rights, Fluehr-Lobban Anthropologists should protect the rights of the people they study. Anthropologists should protect the rights of the people they study. Fleuhr-Lobbans experiences in the Sudan Fleuhr-Lobbans experiences in the Sudan

8 Fluehr-Lobban We should be sensitive to cultural differences while refusing to compromise on human rights. We should be sensitive to cultural differences while refusing to compromise on human rights.

9 Ugandas Women: Children, Drudgery, and Pain, Perlez An unjust social system: An unjust social system: Unequal division of labor Unequal division of labor Lack of access to education Lack of access to education AIDS AIDS Polygamy Polygamy

10 An Alternative to Moral Relativism, Lengbeyer Students often prefer ethical relativism to ethical objectivism. Students often prefer ethical relativism to ethical objectivism. Both relativism and objectivism are defective. Both relativism and objectivism are defective.

11 Lengbeyer There is an alternative, called ethical pluralism. There is an alternative, called ethical pluralism. The core claim of ethical pluralism is that there are multiple correct answers to ethical questions. The core claim of ethical pluralism is that there are multiple correct answers to ethical questions. Is pluralism plausible? Is pluralism plausible?

12 Whos to Judge? Pojman Pojman rejects relativism in its individual and cultural forms. Pojman rejects relativism in its individual and cultural forms. Cultural relativism, the Diversity Thesis, and the Dependency Thesis Cultural relativism, the Diversity Thesis, and the Dependency Thesis Subjectivism leads to absurdities. Subjectivism leads to absurdities.

13 Pojman Relativists treat tolerance as an objective value, and this is inconsistent with their view. Relativists treat tolerance as an objective value, and this is inconsistent with their view. Relativism has other disturbing consequences. Relativism has other disturbing consequences.

14 Pojman Summary: (i) cultural relativism does not entail ethical relativism; (ii) the Dependency thesis is false; and (iii) universal moral truths exist, grounded in a common human nature and the need to solve conflicts of interest and flourish (p. 112). Summary: (i) cultural relativism does not entail ethical relativism; (ii) the Dependency thesis is false; and (iii) universal moral truths exist, grounded in a common human nature and the need to solve conflicts of interest and flourish (p. 112).

15 The Objective Basis of Morality, Nagel Why should we care about others? Why should we care about others? Religious answers Religious answers How would you like it if someone did that to you? (p. 115) How would you like it if someone did that to you? (p. 115)

16 The Deep Beauty of the Golden Rule, MacIver The Golden Rule is a universal procedural rule of ethics. The Golden Rule is a universal procedural rule of ethics. We can test our values with the Golden Rule. We can test our values with the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule, if followed, would produce social harmony. The Golden Rule, if followed, would produce social harmony.

17 I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King There are many universal moral principles appealed to in this famous speech. There are many universal moral principles appealed to in this famous speech. King appeals to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as justice. King appeals to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as justice.

18 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Preamble The Preamble Articles 1-20: negative rights Articles 1-20: negative rights Articles 21-28: positive rights Articles 21-28: positive rights The final 2 articles The final 2 articles


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