Ethical Theories PresentationEthical RelativismLP: 5 Katie Kuehn October 21, 2008
What is Ethical Relativism? • Simple observation that different individuals and societies sometimes have different values • No one single standard is “right”
The Rights Approach • Immanuel Kant – Individuals right to choose for himself or herself
Kant’s Ideas • “People have dignity to choose freely what they want to do with their lives.” • Moral Right – Choices are respected • People should not be manipulated • Moral Law/Morally Correct Laws • Lying
Critic on Kant’s Ideas • Doesn’t determine correctness of judgment • Doesn’t fulfill needs • Doesn’t fulfill desires • No supreme good
Jeremy Bentham • Principal of utility • Utility- respect to a community • Make the happiness of the community greater than any that diminishes it • Promote the greatest amount of happiness
Critic of Bentham’s Ideas • People have higher and lower faculties • Pleasures associated with the higher faculties are more valuable than others • A persons actions are judged with reference to these principles
Descriptive Relativism • Moral values different in fundamental ways • There is a difference between people and cultures
Putting things into perspective… Eskimo and Europeans are different on their care for the elderly
Facts to Know • Cultures have different moral values • Disagreements could be about facts instead of moral value • Eskimos/Europeans
Criticism of Ethical Relativism • Moral Situations are very complex resulting in a variety of good responses • Implies Tolerance – “live and let live”
Current Ethical Dilemma The Abortion Debate
There is no consensus about when abortion is appropriate There is no “right or wrong” Kant’s Theory on Relativism “Persons right to choose”
Review Question: 1 Do all societies have generally the same moral values?
NO Europeans and Eskimos had completely different views on how their elderly should be treated. What was morally expected for one, was unheard of for the other.
Review Question: 2 Did Immanuel Kant believe that every person had the right to choose for himself/herself?
Yes Kant believed it was a persons “dignity” to choose what they did or didn’t want to do in their lives