Is moral universalism the truth?

Topics: Morality, Culture, Human rights Pages: 3 (776 words) Published: November 30, 2013
Is moral universalism the truth?
According to Streiffer [1], moral universalism is an ethical position that there are some moral values which are agreed by all people, ignoring nationality, culture, religion or other differentiating features. Some famous philosophers, from the ancient Platonists and Stoics, to modern Kantian, Objectivist, believed in moral universalism. Besides, a majority of religions have morally universalist positions. However, at the same time, there are also some famous philosophers, including Immanuel Kant, John Locke, John Stuart Mill and Ayn Rand, opposing moral universalism. Moral universalism has been debated for 4000 years. In this essay, the viewpoints of the supporters and opponents of moral universalism will be mentioned and analyzed.

The supporter of moral universalism, Thomson [2], argued that Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by United Nation can be read as assuming a kind of moral universalism. For example, referring to UDHR, everybody has the right to life. So murder, wounding, and false imprisonment are immoral and illegal. Therefore UDHR proves that there are some universal moral values which apply to the whole world.

Moreover, Schwartz and Bilsky [3] conducted a series of studies that included surveys of 25,000 people with different cultural types. They discovered that there were 56 specific universal values. These 56 specific universal values included social justice, equality, loyalty, honesty and a world at peace. So this research proves that there are some universal moral values which are agreed by all people, ignoring nationality, culture, religion or other differentiating features.

However, some philosophers have different opinions. Lukes [4] argued that cultural and individual differences are the evidence opposing moral universalism. A majority of Muslim marry more than one wife. However, in some countries, including modern China, polygyny is illegal. People may think that polygyny is immoral and...
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