Ethical Relativism

Topics: Morality, Female genital cutting, Culture Pages: 3 (1156 words) Published: April 29, 2011
Ethical relativism is an idea that our ethical values aren’t set in stone. They are determined by who we are, where we live, what century we were born in, or what part of the world we are located. Certainly, those people who live now in the year 2009 would not agree with the practices of slavery that were widely used in the 1800’s. Even more than in the past, we can we see this across the map. In Africa, slaves are still used for hard labor and paid small if any wages at all. Although, the United States knows about these practices, they do not agree with them and do not use slavery as a means of labor. In this discussion about ethical relativism, we will also discuss cultural, moral relativism. Ethical relativism is used all across the board to make decisions around the world. The good and bad must be weighed in according to the situation. Relativism is a view that the truth is a matter of opinion. It isn’t defined by some sort of black and white, right and wrong, yes and no type response. These views are determined by what that person is accustomed to according to their culture. Whereas a “thumbs up” in America is considered a good thing, in other countries it is deemed rude and similar to our form or giving someone the finger. Belching after a meal is considered rude in America, however in Japan; you are rude not to belch after your meal is finished. It is actually complimentary to the cook. The other side of relativism is individual relativism. This is a view that believes that truth is a matter of individual opinion. Shannon agrees with Lindsay that capitol punishment is wrong, however, Shannon believes that it is wrong no matter what, but Lindsay believes it is only wrong unless that person committed murder. To each of them, their opinion is correct. This is individual relativism and seems to be much harder to prove in a discussion such as this. There are many arguments against moral and cultural relativism. If a person is from two different cultures...

Cited: Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project. Nigeria: First Ladies and Female Genital Mutilation. 12 November 2009. 14 November 2009 <>.
Oxford University Press. The Oxford Color Dictionary & Thesaurus. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
World Health Organization. World Health Organization. 15 May 2008. 23 November 2009 <>.
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