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Ethical Relativism and its Beliefs - Assignment Example

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This essay describes ethical relativism, that has many beliefs, all of which believe that there is no universal and permanent way of determining if an act is ethical or not. Different cultures have their own beliefs about what is ethical (Geirsson, 2000)…
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Ethical Relativism and its Beliefs
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Ethical Relativism and its Beliefs
Ethical relativism has many beliefs, all of which believe that there is no universal and permanent way of determining if an act is ethical or not. Different cultures have their own beliefs of what is ethical (Geirsson, 2000). This theory argues that what is considered ethical depends on what is acceptable to a society. However, the society’s ethics evolves over time in order to fit with the current circumstances.
The theory of ethical relativism argues that there is no universal standard and that what is considered ethical depends on the cultural norms. This argument is true because from the past, cultures were isolated and people had little information about other cultural practices. Today, people consider their practices and traditions in their own cultures, which have existed over the years, in determining what is ethical. Even with information technology and the widespread use of the internet, it would be ignorant to think that there is a universal way of determining what is ethical. It is not wise to think that one culture’s way of doing things is the best way of doing things. Cultural diversity still exists around the world. For instant, after the recent terror attacks in Paris, where the main target was a satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo, people in France felt that the attack was an attack against freedom of speech. As a result, the magazine published magazines with Prophet Mohamed on the front cover. Many French people supported the magazine and saw this as a way of fighting for their freedom of speech. In this country and the rest of the western countries, the publication of the magazine was ethical. However, this was not the case in the Arab and Muslim countries who considered the action unethical and a mockery to the prophet and to the Muslim religion. This example clearly shows that it is not reasonable to assume that people interpret what is ethical in the same way.
The theory of ethical relativism is also valid because it avoids ethnocentrism. This means that the theory does not judge another culture based on another culture instead. Ethnocentrism makes one culture look more superior to the others. It is argued that such thoughts are a form of discrimination just like sexism and racism (Hinman, 2013). Ethnocentric people devalue and look down on other cultures. If religious opinions are brought into this debate, more cultural differences can be identified. There are different religious opinions on what is right and what is wrong. For example, according to the Muslim religion, it is considered ethical for women to wear loose and long cloths. They are also expected to wear head scarves (hijab) in order to cover their hair. This is different from the Christian community where women have the freedom to show off their hair and are not judged on the kind of cloths that they are wearing.
Ethical realism argues that there is no universal way of determining what is ethical. This argument is valid because of the cultural diversity that exists. It would be ignorant to assume that one culture’s ethical opinion is true and applies universally because each culture has its own values that it considers to be right. There is also no scientific way of proving that some views are better than others, it is wise to treat each one of them as equally correct and valid.
Geirsson, H., & Holmgren, M. R. (2000). Ethical theory: A concise anthology. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press.
Hinman, L. M. (2013). Ethics: A pluralistic approach to moral theory. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub Co. Read More
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