Essay Contextualism: Morality and Ethical Judgment

753 Words Nov 27th, 2010 4 Pages
CONTEXTUALISM, AS A BASIS FOR MAKING ETHICAL DECISIONS

Contextualism is one of the types of criteria we use to make a relevant and meaningful ethical decision (Christian, 2009. p 377). By definition, contextualism establishes that what is ethically right is determined by the situation rather than by a formal law or rule (Moore, 2010. Lecture week 5). This method of decision making has its advantages and disadvantages, an advantage would be the fact that this ethical judgment can be made only after the problem situation exists, not before (Christian, 2009. p 380) whereas the formalism and relativism have to meet certain ethical codes imposed by universal laws and society respectively. A disadvantage would be that no moral values or
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All of us are at some point in our lives have experienced being in those type of situations. For example, when a person lies to their family members in order to protect themselves or their loved ones by not telling the truth, that way of acting may not be ethical but the decision was made out of the concern for the well being of others which makes it right. People may not think about the consequences of that action but according to this principle, that person is unequivocally moral (Christian, 2009. p 381). On the other hand, formalism and most forms of relativism will not consider this as an advantage because lying goes against their fundamentals. In our society, honesty is one of the best qualities to have and practice; and although it is seen daily, it is never acceptable. A disadvantage of Contextualism could be would be that no moral values or beliefs matter when making a decision. For example; the ideas of “don’t kill”, “don’t steal”, “don’t lie” and so forth, can serve well as a general rule, but they must be abandoned if the specific situation calls for it (Christian, 2009, p 380). With that in mind, a person can justify an assassination if that was the “best possible choice”. On the opposite side, the foundation for the Formalism and Relativism is morality. The decisions we make are based on what the implied natural

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