If moral relativism is true, then it must follow that all cultures are unerring regarding moral standards. The right or wrongness of an action depends solely on what is believed to be true of it, leaving no room for error. However, I would like to assert that not all cultures are unfailing because they are able to change their stance on something. Take the United States, for example. At one point in history, slavery was thought to be morally acceptable and permissible, whereas now that is not the case. In other words, the United States was once incorrect in trusting the statement that slavery is morally permissible. This example illustrates one of the many ways in which a culture can be at fault. This argument against moral relativism can be stated as the following: (1) If moral relativism is true, then all cultures are unerring and faultless regarding moral judgements (2) Not all cultures are unerring regarding moral judgements (3) Therefore, moral relativism is not true.
In this paper, I have sought to show that a common argument for moral relativism does not hold up against logical analysis. In addition, I have provided a direct argument against moral relativism. In modern society, which is focused on acceptance and tolerance of others, it is easy to see the appeal of moral relativism. All cultures want to be seen as equals to others regarding their moral code, and moral relativism appears to accomplish that on the surface. However, it seems that it would be far more unifying if we accepted that we are all on the same moral playing field. Rather than focus on the cultural differences that divide us, we should look to the objective universals that unite humanity.
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- Spring '14