American theologian, educator, and author. A theologian and the author of several books about Christian life and ethics, Gustafson is best known for his landmark Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective, Volume I:
The purpose of this brief essay is to show that moral or ethical relativism is a philosophical myth that is accepted by no one who has critically examined its tenets and that those who claim to be moral relativists are really not. We are dealing here with two aspects of a specific condition: As is usually the case in this type of reflective situation, the belief comes first, the action follows, but the action taken tells us something about the commitment to the belief undergirding the action taken.
It is easy in our contemporary society to find statements which apparently show a commitment to moral relativism. Consider just a sampling: Nothing is really right or wrong, but thinking makes it so.
Ethical judgments are just a matter of personal opinion. No society is better or worse than another in regard to social ethics. The above statements, and ones similar to them, are now bandied about in ordinary conversation as if they were truths about which no one should disagree.
Moreover, those who claim to be moral or ethical relativists and are bold enough to declare it would simply say: Opinion surveys recently taken in America have shown the pervasiveness of the position promoted by moral relativism. Other surveys have shown even higher numbers who think that morality and ethics is a matter of personal opinion and that there are no universal standards by which one can determine the rightness or wrongness of a human act.
Now, I never question what a person tells me regarding his or her personal beliefs, unless I have a valid reason to think otherwise.
If someone tells me that truth is a relative matter, then I accept that that is what that person believes. Similarly, I find that those who say they believe in moral relativism never act as if they really do.
In fact, I find them to be moral absolutists, not moral relativists. Belief is one thing; actions are another. In fact, their behavior shows them to be moral absolutists of a type, the very opposite of what they claim to be. And it is this point that I want to address in the remainder of this essay.
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This assertion is based on their behavior, not on their alleged support of a philosophical position. Claiming that morality is a matter of personal opinion, these groups are now attempting to legally quash any opposition to their position.
But there is more. No one should be punished for engaging in such behavior. What is rape to one person is making love to another. The treatment of women by the Taliban is wrong and should be changed.James M. Gustafson Critical Essays. Homework Help while his essay in Moral Education: Five Lectures According to relativism, moral good is relative to a particular group and time, while.
Descriptivism The Problem of Moral Relativism Before we can actually start analyzing and evaluating the competing types of ethical systems, we must first answer a more basic question: Is there any reason to believe there is such a thing as 'morality'?
Moral taboos, as well as accepted practices, according to moral relativism, are the products of institutionalization. Since this is a random and irrational process, no one morality is better than another. Herein lies the one absolute of moral relativism: tolerance.
- Moral relativism, as Harman describes, denies “that there are universal basic moral demands, and says different people are subject to different basic moral demands depending on the social customs, practices, conventions, and principles that they accept” (Harman, p.
85). The purpose of this brief essay is to show that moral (or ethical) relativism is a philosophical myth that is accepted by no one who has critically examined its tenets and that those who claim to . I seem to be confusing “subjective morality” and “moral relativism”.
The logic of Subjective morality and Objective morality I find clean and easy to understand, I find the logic of “moral relativism” vague. It seems to me that Bundy was a moral nihilist.