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What is the difference between ethical subjectivism and ethical absolutism?

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lcowan6 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted November 21, 2012 at 9:31 PM via web

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What is the difference between ethical subjectivism and ethical absolutism?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM (Answer #1)

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Ethical subjectivism is the belief that ethical philosophy is in essence subjective because human perception is subjective. In other words, since people cannot have true objectivity, their interpretation of ethical philosophy must be subjective, as that interpretation is informed by their subjective experiences. This means that there cannot be a single objective ethical philosophy that is useful and definable across all areas of the human experience.

Ethical absolutism is the belief that all actions have a specific moral value, either "right" or "wrong," based in the action itself instead of the intention or interpretation. This means that even if a person justifies an act based on need or circumstance, the act itself can be morally "right" or "wrong" regardless, and should be judged and perceived as such.

Ethical subjectivism refuses to acknowledge that certain acts might be "right" or "wrong" based on action since all human perfection is subjective, while ethical absolutism claims that human subjectivity has no effect on objective moral standards.

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