Ethical Relativism and Ethical Absolutism.

Essay by lbdevocrx June 2003

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Everyone has morals. People in all different parts of the world believe in one thing or another. Ethics along with other sciences study these moralities. Ethical relativism and ethical absolutism are two views that many social scientists are studying. These scientists are especially fascinated by how different the moralities are in different societies. Here, it is important to understand how people behave or what people believe. The two views are very different from one another. The first view covered is ethical absolutism.

Ethical absolutism suggests that there is only one correct moral standard. Everyone everywhere in the world must follow this moral. Even though they do not follow it or believe it, they must abide by it. The saying is, what is a duty for me, must be a duty for you.

Then there is ethical relativism. Here, it denies that there is one universal moral standard. Like the name, this view implies that the society that a person comes from determines the correct morals that the person abides by.

If the society of a person accepts the actions of that person, then that act is morally right. Therefore, because people come from many different places, everyone should just follow the morality of the place in which they come from. Therefore, the morality of one place may be very different then the moralities of another place.

There are problems with this view also though. Let us say that everyone in a person's society believes that one thing is morally right. What if that person does not think that that one thing is right? That person must follow that morality and just accept it even though he or she does not truly believe it.

Both ethical absolutism and ethical relativism have their followers and non-believers. They have flaws as well.