Moral Absolutism

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Moral absolutism Pages: 4 (1491 words) Published: October 29, 2012
Moral Absolutism
a) Explain what is meant by Moral Absolutism. (25)
Moral absolutism is an ethical theory which believes that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are either right or wrong. Moral absolutists might, for example, judge slavery, war, dictatorship, the death penalty, or child abuse to be absolutely immoral regardless of the situations or beliefs of a culture that engages in these practices. Moral absolutism adopts the theory that certain actions are moral or immoral regardless of the circumstances in which they occur. Absolutists consider that the Ten Commandments, found in the book of Exodus, are rules which should never be broken - no matter what. For example, one of the commandments found in Exodus 20:13 is "You shall not kill" and absolutists believe that this rule should never be broken. They would not even agree with the murder of one person, such as a terrorist, in order to save an entire nation. Another example is lying, certain absolutists feel that they should never lie no matter what the consequences are, even if it was in order to save an innocent persons life or to promote some sort of good. Plato was the first philosopher to raise an example of moral absolutism in western society; the Theory of the Forms. Plato stated that the forms are concepts that are eternally constant, and provide meaning and structure to the universe. Contrary to the natural state of change that the world is in, the forms are unchangeable. According to Plato, all of the forms came to be a single, and unalterable, idea. This made the “Form of the Good.” Therefore, for example; beauty is the Form of the Good in aesthetics, justice is the Form of the Good in politics and virtue is the Form of the Good in ethics. But what is the “Good”? Plato believed that the “Good” was the one thing that all humans should aim to find and pay attention to. Moral absolutism may be clearer to explain in terms of moral...
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