Relativism - Metaethics The central questions What is the...

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Metaethics The central questions What is the nature of morality?  Are moral claims true or false in some  absolute sense?  Or is it morality somehow relative? Relativism Familiar to hear that morality is relative. E.g., “Polygamy can't be absolutely immoral  because there are some cultures that practice  adultery.  So, in our culture polygamy is immoral,  but in other cultures it isn't.” 3 claims 1. Descriptive relativism: people have different moral views Anthropological data shows cross-cultural diversity 2. Meta-ethical relativism:  the truth of moral claims is not absolute (contrast with  mathematical claims) Rather, the truth of moral claims is relative to a culture 3. Normative relativism:  the morally correct action depends on the prevailing  morality If a culture forbids doing X, then a member of that culture shouldn’t do X.  Different groups… All of these questions can be raised concerning any group or  even an individual
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Descriptive: different individuals have different moral values Metaethical: the truth of a moral claim is relative to the  individual’s convictions Normative: the morally correct action depends on the  individual’s moral values.  Getting into the debate Can there be fundamental ethical disagreement? Or is there always a right  answer when it comes to morality Richard Brandt's view is that where there is FED, there is no fact of the  matter about the true morality. If there is fundamental ethical disagreement concerning some action,  such that two groups disagree fundamentally about whether the action  is wrong, then there is no absolute truth concerning the wrongness of  the action. Complication – Facts vs. values: To show that two people or cultures have a fundamental  ethical disagreement, one would have to show that there is  agreement about all the facts. – In some tribes, it’s regarded as permissible to eat body 
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course INDV 101 taught by Professor Walker during the Fall '07 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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Relativism - Metaethics The central questions What is the...

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