Absolutism And Relativism Essay Research Paper Absolutism — страница 2

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wrong. The two people can both be right because "Cultural circumstances alter the way people think about their environment, thus emphasis of moral or immoral judgment is placed on differing actions in differing cultures" (Sherman). Relativism is subjective and seeks to gain happiness; therefore, this ideal makes perfect sense. The article "The Paralysis of Absolutophobia" by Robert Simon gives reasons why relativism is so prevalent among students today. He feels that students’ have their own individual interpretations of multiculturalism and postmodernism, and that any criticism of another culture’s practices is a kind of cultural imperialism. Also, because we all speak from some particular perspective, truly objective moral knowledge is impossible to

attain (Simon). In the same article Robert Simon speaks about having absolute values. He feels that to be tolerant and willing to consider the viewpoints and arguments of others is in itself a moral judgment. Also, there is nothing about moral judgment that requires inflexibility, intolerance, fanaticism or an inability to recognize that people will disagree. And finally, Simon feels that people should replace absolutophobia with a greater appreciation and openmindness. Part of the relativist view deals with utilitarianism, which was supported by John Stuart Mill. His view defends liberal principles in the name of maximizing the general welfare. Referring to Mill’s utilitarian views, in his article, Sandel remarks, "The state should not impose on its citizens a preferred

way of life, even for their own good, because doing so will reduce the sum of human happiness, at least in the long run; better that people choose for themselves even if, on occasion, they get it wrong" (Sandel). In On Liberty, Mill writes, "The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it". In one respect, utilitarianism would seem well suited to liberal purposes. Seeking to maximize overall happiness does not require judging people’s values, only aggregating them. Utilitarians sometimes defend individual right on the grounds that respecting them now will serve utility in the long run. All of Immanuel Kant’s opinions strongly

opposed this. It is obvious that ethical absolutism and relativism are extreme opposites. They each have strong evidence backing them up and forming separate opinions. Even great philosophers took stands on absolutism and relativism. Immanuel Kant supports absolutism, while J.S. Mill supports relativism. Many people, however, feels that the best solution lies as a "happy medium" that lies somewhere in the middle. I agree with that notion. As the saying goes, "Moderation is key"; I don’t feel that an extreme is ever the way to go. Relativists see happiness and idealism, which I feel is important. I also think that it is important to seek the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Absolutism, on the other hand, has absolute certainty. I feel it is

important to also have assured realities that you can look forward to relying on. I disagree with the absolutist opinion that people cannot have different views on moral issues. I think that people, depending on their experiences, culture, age, religion, and social status have differing opinions on topics. That is all a part of the world, and its diverse qualities and characteristics. Halpin, James. Good Conversation: An Invitation to Moral Disclosure. Simon & Schuster Custom Publishing. Needham, Massachusetts, 1997. Kant, Immanuel. Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. Merriam-Webster, Inc. New York, New York, 1992. p 15. Sandel, Michael. "Morality and the liberal ideal: must individual rights betray the common good?". The New Republic. May 7, 1984 v190 p15

Sherman, Bob. Basic Ethics and Morals. World Wide Web: http://www.flash.net/~bob001/basics.html. Simon, Robert L. "The Paralysis of Absolutophobia". From The Chronicle of Higher Education.