ETHICS 1 Module 2 study guide (Aug 2018) Nature of Ethics and Moral Reasoning.pdf

The greeks and the callatiae disagree regarding the

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the Greeks and the Callatiae disagree regarding the right treatment of the dead primarily be- cause they are products of different societies or communities, having different circumstances and thus, with different ways of doing things. From this perspective, since these moral norms and standards are ‘just ours’, it follows that what is right and wrong is ‘right and wrong only relative to a society or community’ that created them. To put it in a different way, for moral relativists morality is purely conventional, where the notion of convention implies that there are other equally proper ways of doing things. The burning of the dead is right for the Greek society , but wrong for the Callatian society ; con- versely, eating the dead is right for the Callatian society , but wrong for the Greek society . This leads us to an important claim of moral relativists: that since what is considered right in the eyes of a particular group of people may be wrong for another, then neither group can claim that their moral conventions constitute the truth of the matter and, consequently, neither can intervene, criticize, or condemn them for their conventions. 3.3.3 A Religious Foundation of Morality While some are more discerning and careful of the moral implications of the religious views that they hold, it is a commonplace belief among many people, says Rachels in “Does Moral- ity Depend on Religion?” , that morality is founded upon, and thus is completely settled by religion . Such people regard the question of what is the right thing to do not as a quandary to be reflected upon, but as a question the answers to which are already given in some authorita- tive code of instructions, a handbook of how to act, decide, and live specified by a God or gods greater than ourselves. How we ought to live, they claim, is revealed to us by this Be- ing/s, often through the intermediary of sacred texts (e.g. the Holy Bible, the Qur’an, the Torah) that supposedly contain the will of this Being/s or through the intercession of people (e.g. priests, prophets) who possess extraordinary moral insights by being sufficiently in touch with this divine will. One should take note, however, that the religious are not the only people who subscribe to this idea. Nonbelievers appear to endorse the same view, as shown by the atheists’ claim that Page of 15 18
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ETHICS 1 - Ethics and Moral Reasoning in Everyday Life accepting that God does not exist, that ‘God is dead’, commits one to the idea of a universe devoid of morality. According to them, if there is no God, then there are actually no rules to live by, no moral law to follow and thus, one can do whatever one wants. As Dmitri in Dos- toyevsky’s famous novel The Brothers Karamazov said, “Without God and the future of life?
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  • Spring '10
  • Johnson
  • Ethics , Moral psychology, practical reasoning

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