It’s all relative!. Whose opinion counts anyway?. (Richard van de Lagemaat , Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge University Press). To what extent do you think the following individuals are morally inconsistent?. An anti-abortionist who supports the death penalty.
Whose opinion counts anyway?
(Richard van de Lagemaat, Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge University Press)
Our values are determined by the society we grow up in and there are no universal values.
Moral values are simply customs or conventions that vary from culture to culture.
Some peoples are monogamous, others polygamous, some do not eat pork, others do not eat beef, some bury their dead while others burn them.
In favour of moral relativism: value-judgements?
The diversity argument
The lack of foundations argument
The diversity argument: value-judgements?
Which of the following would you say is wrong and which just a matter of convention:
Moral values are ungrounded, there is no independent “moral reality” to test them against.
Can’t use perception or reason to argue about values.
Some people in the world are starving. conventions?
I have more food than I need.
Therefore, I ought to give some of my food to the starving.
Some people in the world are starving.
I have more food than I need.
Therefore, lucky old me!
I have my values and you have yours, so let’s agree that we are both right.
Therefore no-one should impose their views on someone else.
What about the “Thugs”?
Do morals change with the centuries?
It used to be considered acceptable to own slaves. Was it therefore wrong to own slaves at that time, even though it was legal and most people who could afford to, owned slaves?
Is it all conventions?relative, then?
Consider the statement:
All ethical beliefs are of equal value.
Homework: find examples to support and counter this statement. Avoid Nazism and slave owning
True morals are universal values
We CAN justify our values
Think of some core values that you believe are held by all human beings.
Imagine if these were not applied – what would such a society be like to live in?
Many societies have found ways to justify poor treatment of people outside their own community –
Wari – considered everyone else as “edible”
Conquistadors believed indigenous peoples of S. America were sub-human.
The important values (universal values?) are intuitively obvious:
We cannot necessarily prove them but surely it is obvious that random torture is wrong…
As it is obvious that 2 + 2 = 4
If we agree there are some universal, core values then can it be said that a person who cannot distinguish right from wrong is “morals blind” as a person who cannot distinguish green from red is “colour blind”?
Do you, for example, think that serial killers are best described as “bad” or “mad”?
Whose opinion/values are you talking about?
What are they based on? Culture, upbringing, intuition, facts?
Can you or they prove any facts they are using to support a point of view?