✍️✍️✍️ Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis
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Moral Relativism - Explained and Debated
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Or it may be a crime punishable by law, or regarded as a sin against the gods. Other anthropologists point to a range of practices considered morally acceptable in some societies but condemned in others, including infanticide, genocide, polygamy, racism, sexism, and torture. Such differences may lead us to question whether there are any universal moral principles or whether morality is merely a matter of "cultural taste. Ethical relativism is the theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one's culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practiced.
The same action may be morally right in one society but be morally wrong in another. For the ethical relativist, there are no universal moral standards -- standards that can be universally applied to all peoples at all times. The only moral standards against which a society's practices can be judged are its own. If ethical relativism is correct, there can be no common framework for resolving moral disputes or for reaching agreement on ethical matters among members of different societies. Most ethicists reject the theory of ethical relativism. Some claim that while the moral practices of societies may differ, the fundamental moral principles underlying these practices do not.
For example, in some societies, killing one's parents after they reached a certain age was common practice, stemming from the belief that people were better off in the afterlife if they entered it while still physically active and vigorous. While such a practice would be condemned in our society, we would agree with these societies on the underlying moral principle -- the duty to care for parents. Are they good or evil, for they are existing beings? Yes, a scorpion is evil in relation to man; a serpent is evil in relation to man; but in relation to themselves they are not evil, for their poison is their weapon, and by their sting they defend themselves. Thus, evil is more of an intellectual concept than a true reality. Since God is good, and upon creating creation he confirmed it by saying it is Good Genesis evil cannot have a true reality.
Christian theology draws its concept of evil from the Old and New Testaments. In common parlance, evil is 'something' that occurs in experience that ought not to be. In Mormonism , mortal life is viewed as a test of faith, where one's choices are central to the Plan of Salvation. Evil is that which keeps one from discovering the nature of God. It is believed that one must choose not to be evil to return to God. Christian Science believes that evil arises from a misunderstanding of the goodness of nature, which is understood as being inherently perfect if viewed from the correct spiritual perspective. Misunderstanding God's reality leads to incorrect choices, which are termed evil.
This has led to the rejection of any separate power being the source of evil, or of God as being the source of evil; instead, the appearance of evil is the result of a mistaken concept of good. Christian Scientists argue that even the most evil person does not pursue evil for its own sake, but from the mistaken viewpoint that he or she will achieve some kind of good thereby. There is no concept of absolute evil in Islam , as a fundamental universal principle that is independent from and equal with good in a dualistic sense. Within Islam, it is considered essential to believe that all comes from God , whether it is perceived as good or bad by individuals; and things that are perceived as evil or bad are either natural events natural disasters or illnesses or caused by humanity's free will to disobey God's orders.
According to the Ahmadiyya understanding of Islam, evil does not have a positive existence in itself and is merely the lack of good, just as darkness is the result of lack of light. In Judaism , yetzer hara is the congenital inclination to do evil , by violating the will of God. Genesis and The Hebrew word "yetzer" having appeared twice in Genesis occurs again at the end of the Torah: "I knew their devisings that they do". However, the Torah which began with blessing  anticipates future blessing  which will come as a result of God circumcising the heart in the latter days.
In traditional Judaism, the yetzer hara is not a demonic force, but rather man's misuse of things the physical body needs to survive. Thus, the need for food becomes gluttony due to the yetzer hara. The need for procreation becomes promiscuity, and so on. According to the Talmudic tractate Avot de-Rabbi Natan , a boy's evil inclination is greater than his good inclination until he turns 13 bar mitzvah , at which point the good inclination is "born" and able to control his behavior.
Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha , or other enlightened beings such as Bodhisattvas. It has been variously described as virtue ,  moral discipline  and precept. It is an ethical compass within self and relationships, rather than what is associated with the English word "morality" i. It means the practitioner poses no threat to another person's life, property, family, rights, or well-being.
Moral instructions are included in Buddhist scriptures or handed down through tradition. Most scholars of Buddhist ethics thus rely on the examination of Buddhist scriptures , and the use of anthropological evidence from traditional Buddhist societies, to justify claims about the nature of Buddhist ethics. In Hinduism the concept of dharma or righteousness clearly divides the world into good and evil, and clearly explains that wars have to be waged sometimes to establish and protect dharma, this war is called Dharmayuddha.
This division of good and evil is of major importance in both the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, the main emphasis in Hinduism is on bad action, rather than bad people. The Hindu holy text, the Bhagavad Gita , speaks of the balance of good and evil. When this balance goes off, divine incarnations come to help to restore this balance. In adherence to the core principle of spiritual evolution, the Sikh idea of evil changes depending on one's position on the path to liberation.
At the beginning stages of spiritual growth, good and evil may seem neatly separated. However, once one's spirit evolves to the point where it sees most clearly, the idea of evil vanishes and the truth is revealed. In his writings Guru Arjan explains that, because God is the source of all things, what we believe to be evil must too come from God. And because God is ultimately a source of absolute good, nothing truly evil can originate from God. Nevertheless, Sikhism, like many other religions, does incorporate a list of "vices" from which suffering, corruption, and abject negativity arise.
These are known as the Five Thieves , called such due to their propensity to cloud the mind and lead one astray from the prosecution of righteous action. One who gives in to the temptations of the Five Thieves is known as " Manmukh ", or someone who lives selfishly and without virtue. Inversely, the " Gurmukh , who thrive in their reverence toward divine knowledge, rise above vice via the practice of the high virtues of Sikhism. These are: . In the originally Persian religion of Zoroastrianism , the world is a battle ground between the god Ahura Mazda also called Ormazd and the malignant spirit Angra Mainyu also called Ahriman.
The final resolution of the struggle between good and evil was supposed to occur on a day of Judgement , in which all beings that have lived will be led across a bridge of fire, and those who are evil will be cast down forever. In Afghan belief, angels and saints are beings sent to help us achieve the path towards goodness. It is possible to treat the essential theories of value by the use of a philosophical and academic approach.
In properly analyzing theories of value, everyday beliefs are not only carefully catalogued and described , but also rigorously analyzed and judged. There are at least two basic ways of presenting a theory of value, based on two different kinds of questions:. The two questions are subtly different. One may answer the first question by researching the world by use of social science, and examining the preferences that people assert. However, one may answer the second question by use of reasoning, introspection, prescription, and generalization. The former kind of method of analysis is called " descriptive ", because it attempts to describe what people actually view as good or evil; while the latter is called " normative ", because it tries to actively prohibit evils and cherish goods.
These descriptive and normative approaches can be complementary. For example, tracking the decline of the popularity of slavery across cultures is the work of descriptive ethics , while advising that slavery be avoided is normative. Meta-ethics is the study of the fundamental questions concerning the nature and origins of the good and the evil, including inquiry into the nature of good and evil, as well as the meaning of evaluative language. In this respect, meta-ethics is not necessarily tied to investigations into how others see the good, or of asserting what is good. A satisfying formulation of goodness is valuable because it might allow one to construct a good life or society by reliable processes of deduction, elaboration, or prioritization.
One could answer the ancient question, "How should we then live? It has long been thought that this question can best be answered by examining what it is that necessarily makes a thing valuable, or in what the source of value consists. One attempt to define goodness describes it as a property of the world with Platonic idealism. According to this claim, to talk about the good is to talk about something real that exists in the object itself, independent of the perception of it. Plato advocated this view, in his expression that there is such a thing as an eternal realm of forms or ideas, and that the greatest of the ideas and the essence of being was goodness, or The good.
The good was defined by many ancient Greeks and other ancient philosophers as a perfect and eternal idea, or blueprint. The good is the right relation between all that exists, and this exists in the mind of the Divine, or some heavenly realm. The good is the harmony of a just political community, love, friendship, the ordered human soul of virtues , and the right relation to the Divine and to Nature. The characters in Plato's dialogues mention the many virtues of a philosopher, or a lover of wisdom. A theist is a person who believes that the Supreme Being exists or gods exist monotheism or polytheism.
A theist may, therefore, claim that the universe has a purpose and value according to the will of such creator s that lies partially beyond human understanding. For instance, Thomas Aquinas —a proponent of this view—believed he had proven the existence of God , and the right relations that humans ought to have to the divine first cause. Monotheists might also hope for infinite universal love.
Such hope is often translated as " faith ", and wisdom itself is largely defined within some religious doctrines as a knowledge and understanding of innate goodness. The concepts of innocence , spiritual purity , and salvation are likewise related to a concept of being in, or returning to, a state of goodness —one that, according to various teachings of " enlightenment ", approaches a state of holiness or Godliness. Aristotle believed that virtues consisted of realization of potentials unique to humanity, such as the use of reason.
This type of view, called perfectionism , has been recently defended in modern form by Thomas Hurka. An entirely different form of perfectionism has arisen in response to rapid technological change. Some techno-optimists , especially transhumanists , avow a form of perfectionism in which the capacity to determine good and trade off fundamental values, is expressed not by humans but by software, genetic engineering of humans, artificial intelligence. Skeptics assert that rather than perfect goodness, it would be only the appearance of perfect goodness, reinforced by persuasion technology and probably brute force of violent technological escalation , which would cause people to accept such rulers or rules authored by them.
Welfarist theories of value say things that are good are such because of their positive effects on human well-being. It is difficult to figure out where an immaterial trait such as "goodness" could reside in the world. A counterproposal is to locate values inside people. Some philosophers go so far as to say that if some state of affairs does not tend to arouse a desirable subjective state in self-aware beings, then it cannot be good.
Most philosophers that think goods have to create desirable mental states also say that goods are experiences of self-aware beings. These philosophers often distinguish the experience, which they call an intrinsic good, from the things that seem to cause the experience, which they call "inherent" goods. Some theories describe no higher collective value than that of maximizing pleasure for individual s. Some even define goodness and intrinsic value as the experience of pleasure, and bad as the experience of pain. This view is called hedonism , a monistic theory of value. It has two main varieties: simple, and Epicurean.
Simple hedonism is the view that physical pleasure is the ultimate good. However, the ancient philosopher Epicurus used the word 'pleasure' in a more general sense that encompassed a range of states from bliss to contentment to relief. Contrary to popular caricature, he valued pleasures of the mind to bodily pleasures, and advocated moderation as the surest path to happiness. Jeremy Bentham's book The Principles of Morals and Legislation prioritized goods by considering pleasure, pain and consequences. This theory had a wide effect on public affairs, up to and including the present day. A similar system was later named Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill. More broadly, utilitarian theories are examples of Consequentialism.
All utilitarian theories are based upon the maxim of utility , which states that good is whatever provides the greatest happiness for the greatest number. It follows from this principle that what brings happiness to the greatest number of people, is good. A benefit of tracing good to pleasure and pain is that both are easily understandable, both in oneself and to an extent in others. For the hedonist, the explanation for helping behaviour may come in the form of empathy —the ability of a being to "feel" another's pain. People tend to value the lives of gorillas more than those of mosquitoes because the gorilla lives and feels, making it easier to empathize with them.
This idea is carried forward in the ethical relationship view and has given rise to the animal rights movement and parts of the peace movement. The impact of sympathy on human behaviour is compatible with Enlightenment views, including David Hume 's stances that the idea of a self with unique identity is illusory, and that morality ultimately comes down to sympathy and fellow feeling for others, or the exercise of approval underlying moral judgments. A view adopted by James Griffin attempts to find a subjective alternative to hedonism as an intrinsic value.
He argues that the satisfaction of one's informed desires constitutes well-being, whether or not these desires actually bring the agent happiness. Moreover, these preferences must be life-relevant, that is, contribute to the success of a person's life overall. Desire satisfaction may occur without the agent's awareness of the satisfaction of the desire. For example, if a man wishes for his legal will to be enacted after his death, and it is, then his desire has been satisfied even though he will never experience or know of it.
Meher Baba proposed that it is not the satisfaction of desires that motivates the agent but rather "a desire to be free from the limitation of all desires. Those experiences and actions which increase the fetters of desire are bad, and those experiences and actions which tend to emancipate the mind from limiting desires are good. Selfishness, which in the beginning is the father of evil tendencies, becomes through good deeds the hero of its own defeat.
When the evil tendencies are completely replaced by good tendencies, selfishness is transformed into selflessness, i. The idea that the ultimate good exists and is not orderable but is globally measurable is reflected in various ways in economic classical economics , green economics , welfare economics , gross national happiness and scientific positive psychology , the science of morality well-being measuring theories, all of which focus on various ways of assessing progress towards that goal, a so-called genuine progress indicator. Modern economics thus reflects very ancient philosophy, but a calculation or quantitative or other process based on cardinality and statistics replaces the simple ordering of values.
For example, in both economics and in folk wisdom, the value of something seems to rise so long as it is relatively scarce. However, if it becomes too scarce, it leads often to a conflict, and can reduce collective value. In the classical political economy of Adam Smith and David Ricardo , and in its critique by Karl Marx , human labour is seen as the ultimate source of all new economic value. This is an objective theory of value see value theory , which attributes value to real production-costs, and ultimately expenditures of human labour-time see also law of value.
It contrasts with marginal utility theory, which argues that the value of labour depends on subjective preferences by consumers, which may however also be objectively studied. The economic value of labour may be assessed technically in terms of its use-value or utility or commercially in terms of its exchange-value , price or production cost see also labour power. But its value may also be socially assessed in terms of its contribution to the wealth and well-being of a society.
In non-market societies, labour may be valued primarily in terms of skill, time, and output, as well as moral or social criteria and legal obligations.Misattributed [ Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis ] A moral system Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis for all is basically immoral. All utilitarian Pico Iyer Why We Travel Analysis are based upon the maxim of difference between innovation and inventionwhich states that good is whatever provides Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis greatest happiness for the greatest number. The good is the harmony of a just Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis community, love, friendship, the ordered human soul of virtues Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis, and the right relation to the Divine and to Nature. For example, if a man wishes Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis his legal Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis to be enacted after his death, and it is, then his Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis has been satisfied even though he will never experience or know of it. When the evil tendencies Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis completely replaced by good tendencies, selfishness is transformed into selflessness, i. Avruch says that descriptive relativism is Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis acknowledgement Moral Relativism Mary Midgley Analysis differences rooted in culture or, as Herskovits. There is no concept of absolute evil in Islamas a fundamental universal principle that is independent from and Huck Finn Understatement Analysis with good in a dualistic sense.