ehtics notes 3.docx - Descriptive vs Normative Ethical Relativism This section introduces the problem of skepticism about ethical judgments The

ehtics notes 3.docx - Descriptive vs Normative Ethical...

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Descriptive vs. Normative Ethical Relativism : This section introduces the problem of skepticism about ethical judgments. The skepticism may result from two main areas, i.e. epistemology or ontology. In the first place, the skepticism results because of a doubt about what we can know. In the second case, the skepticism arises because of what we think exists. There are some good reasons to be skeptical about ethical reasoning, i.e. factually speaking; there are different ideas globally about what is ethical. This view is termed descriptive ethical relativism . This point is made most evident when taking into account the different values that span different cultures, i.e. some cultures hold that bribery is moral while others condemn it, some cultures allow women to wear short skirts while in others they are expected to cover their legs and hair. The argument the skeptic makes here is that this factual difference shows that morality itself is relative. However, recalling the distinction between facts/descriptions and values, it may be that some cultures are wrong while other are right in some cases. Simply because some cultures hold certain values does not mean that they “should” hold those values. Furthermore, the U.N. issued a declaration of human rights in 1948, and this acknowledges the strength of this line of reasoning, because it demonstrates that it is widely recognized that the mere fact of cultural disagreement about what is ethical is itself insufficient to support meta-ethical relativism . Meta-ethical relativism moves beyond the fact of moral disagreement and theorizes that there are no universal principles that support moral judgments. Individual vs. Cultural Relativism : This section expands a bit on two different forms of relativism. Individual relativism says the moral judgments are subjective to the individual, while cultural relativism says that moral values and norms are fixed by individuals in a culture. The first case, moral values differ from person to person. In the second case, moral values differ from culture to culture.

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