Moral Beliefs: Relatief Or Practice Is Right Or Wrong?

1298 Words 5 Pages
It is a known fact that no matter what, people will disagree on moral matters. A matter that may be “wrong” according to one group can be “right” to another. When those with differing opinions meet, disagreement will happen. Philosophers have long theorized on how to reconcile between the different sides of a conflict on what is “right” or “wrong”. The question is, who is correct on the matter of whether a belief or practice is right or wrong then? In a broader sense, how do we determine if something is right or wrong? Some theorists, like James Rachels, subscribe to the belief that what is right or wrong is purely relative to each culture and there is no universal rightness or wrongness. Others, like J.L. Mackie, argue on a more level that …show more content…
He contests relativism by stating that such a view is ridiculous primarily because of the wide range of immoral acts “X” could possibly be. He gives the practice of human sacrifice as an example and calls into question the dubiousness of moral relativity in such a situation. According to moral relativity even if “we” were to disagree on such a practice, if that society practices the act (Bernard citing the Ashanti tribe) approves of it, then we have no place in interfering with the tribe. Williams also points out that any society must have a sort of universal moral standard for it to even exist. He notes how any society will have certain standards ingrained within its members and that these ingrained morals cannot simply just be forced aside when confronted with a separate society with differing morals.(Williams, 21) Rachels’ relativism argument and Williams’ counter argument are examples of philosophies without a universal moral truth and an argument that debases it. The case of Rachels’ relativism is a little strange in that, while the theory claims to be spreading tolerance of other cultures, the lack of a universal standard to base the moral judgements upon brings up the question of how one would judge their own moral standards. This is especially potent in cases where a culture permits acts such as conquest and genocide-acts that obviously will bring harm to others. The Nazi regime is a prime example of this. Relativism’s lack of a universal moral standard becomes very contradictory in this sense. No matter which view is taken, whether or not one believes in the existence of a universal moral truth is essential to furthering an understanding of morality. The existence of one provides a standard for others to be judged against but the belief that there isn’t one could also be a better proponent of tolerance between cultures. The existence of a universal moral truth is essential in

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