"Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of time." Critically evaluate this claim.

Essay by blackfrankwhiteHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2006

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This claim made by Albert Einstein suggests that ethical and scientific axioms are tested in a similar manner, and that "truth is what the stands the test of time." The term axiom is used to describe a self-evident principle or one that is accepted as true without proof as the basis for argument; a postulate (The American Heritage Dictionaries). Ethical axioms in essence are those principles that are accepted by society and are often used to govern the way people act. An example would be, "It is wrong to kill," this axiom is self-evident fundamental principle that may be used to assist moral decision making. Scientific axioms are those laws or theories which are universally accepted by scientists, such as Kohlrausch's law which states that if a salt is dissolved in water, the conductivity of the solution is the sum of two values -- one depending on the positive ions and the other on the negative ions (Francis).

Einstein's claim advocates that ethical axioms are not very different from scientific axioms in the sense that if tested and proved to be erroneous or outdated due to advancements in society, technology, etc...then the claim is not discarded completely, but amended and corrected to uphold this truth. However, Einstein's claim does not hold true where exceptions are made for scientific and ethical axioms. When these exceptions are tested, the difference in reasoning is discernible.

In ethics, our moral reasoning and judgments are used to support our axioms. One example of an ethical axiom that I can relate to is, "Thou shall not steal". This universally recognized and accepted axiom holds true in societies alike, but are there exceptions to it? And if so when do these exceptions apply? One may argue that stealing is for the most part wrong and condemned by...