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What moral question on a specific moral issue could make it difficult to accept the...

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granny54 | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted January 1, 2012 at 5:48 PM via web

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What moral question on a specific moral issue could make it difficult to accept the relativist’s response concerning that issue? 

Relativism presents challenges to various ethical and religious viewpoints. There are certain moral issues involved that a relativist would have a problem giving a justified response to.

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 1, 2012 at 6:43 PM (Answer #2)

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Let us remember that relativists always argue that there is no such thing as absolute truth, and that it is always culturally shaped and defined. Therefore, what is "true" for one culture or time period will not be "true" for another culture or time period. Relativists would cite changing laws and approaches to issues such as homosexuality and abortion to support their position.

I suppose one issue that we could point to that relativists would find very difficult to argue for nowadays would be paedophilia and child abuse. Although they could argue that such practices did occur as part of Greek civilisations and other cultures in ancient history, it would be very hard to support that view in today's day and age when the rights of children are enshrined and supported. Another issue, along similar lines, that could cause relativists problems would be that of human sacrifice. Advances in knowledge and technology mean that it would be very difficult to argue for human sacrifice in today's world.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 2, 2012 at 1:27 AM (Answer #3)

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I don't see how advances in knowledge and technology make it more difficult to argue for human sacrifice.  It's not as if we know now that God/the gods don't want that.  We just think differently.

I'd say that one issue that would be hard to justify would be slavery.  It is hard to argue that slavery is acceptable at any time or place.  It is essentially never done with the consent of the person who is enslaved and is always fundamentally abusive.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2012 at 5:30 AM (Answer #4)

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Many crimes, in particular murder and theft, are unacceptable across a wide range of societies, and indeed have been for all of recorded history. It would be hard to defend them. If we are talking about cultural practices, however, the discussion becomes a bit more complex, even more so when we consider that many cultural practices (women's rights, for example) are contested even the different societies we are talking about.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 2, 2012 at 6:01 AM (Answer #5)

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So-called 'honour killings' where, for example, a father would murder his own daughter for associating with a boy that his family didn't respect are shocking and unacceptable to many cultures, yet are considered ok by a small minority. However, it would seem that it is an 'absolute truth' that there is never any justification for murder - especially in those cases where a father/family did not even have the excuse of self defence.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 2, 2012 at 11:57 AM (Answer #6)

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I don't think murder for the sake of murder can ever be considered acceptable. Consider serial killers. They kill because they like to. They are not avenging a death, they are feeding a sadistic need. How can we accept this? Yet for them, it is acceptable.
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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM (Answer #7)

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Moral relativism, like other forms of skepticism, raises problems of self-contradiction. If I say that there is no right or wrong, I have made an assertion that is either right or wrong, haven't I?  Or haven't I at least made an assertion which I consider right? And haven't I therefore contradicted myself?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM (Answer #8)

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What a great discussion. There are many problems and issues with moral relativism. If someone say that something is "just wrong," then it goes against moral relativism. I would say that most people would have many things that they they consider "just wrong." Within in this category, I would say any abuse of children would be "just wrong." It would be very hard to justify moral relativism when it comes to harming children in any way.

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jpope1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 3, 2012 at 7:02 AM (Answer #9)

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There are a few questions on which I find it difficult to accept the stance of a moral relativist. One is the question of female genital mutilation - cutting or deforming girls' genitalia for cultural or religious reasons. Another is medicine killings or "mufti killings," in which people kill others to obtain their vital life essence (blood). The killer then mixes the blood into a potion in order to create a medicine to heal himself from some ailment. There are lots of other situations that make moral relativism an unrealistic and untenable moral stance.
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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:29 AM (Answer #10)

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I think that there are far more concerning behaviors associated with moral relativists than positive ones. The points made above discuss the many problems that one can find with people who follow this ideology. On the other hand, those who do follow it find no problem with their beliefs.

This, like many things, can only be decided upon by the one involved. I know that this sounds horrible, but by taking away someone's rights who we don't agree with give them the right to take away our own.

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katsenis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:22 AM (Answer #11)

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I would argue that the main issue a relativist would have difficulty responding to is that Blacks are no longer considered 3/5 of a human being. Society seems to accept that such a claim was never correct; that now society is enlightened and has jettisoned a false belief.

There are many such examples of societal norms that were once praccticed, but are now understood to have been, are and would be, morally wrong.

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