Are Moral Values Absolute or Relative Essay
I will first Cover Mêlées area of expertise followed by Taylor Ethical Relativism opinions. Mary Mingled: Moral Isolationism When discussing moral isolationism a name that is sure to pop up is Mary Mingled. Mingled was a professor at the university of Newcastle and has written many books, some of which deal with moral Isolationism. Melody believes that moral isolationism “makes no sense at all. ” After reading Mêlées piece on moral Isolationism In the book, I concluded that, I too, see many flaws in the idea of moral isolationism and cannot quite support all the concepts behind it.
Many people think that taking a moral isolationist stance on other cultures and people is respectful because they are not making crude Judgments. Mingled says that “nobody can respect what is entirely unintelligible to them. ” I find this statement a little contradicting because If you are ENTIRELY unintelligible about something doesn’t this mean that you are completely Ignorant of the subject and therefore know nothing of the topic or that this culture or person even exists. So yes of course you cannot respect something that is entirely unintelligible to you.
One of many questions that Mingled brings up is, if we cannot Judge other ultras are we really in a situation to be Judging our own culture? After all if we knew nothing of other cultures and didn’t have opinions about these other cultures, how are we going to Judge our own culture? I believe we must form opinions about other cultures and Judge them so that we can do the same with our culture and actually compare our culture with others. To me, this is the only way in which we can come up with an accurate description and Judgment about our own personal cultures.
Mingled says that outsiders should form opinions on other cultures and that these outsiders even have an “advantage” in forming an opinion of a specific ultra. I think this is somewhat true because I can see how an outsider who does not know much of the culture can form a decent opinion on that culture because they see it from a different perspective, an outsider prospective. This insight can help the culture and can maybe even change their views on what is morally right or wrong. For example, let’s say an outsider is hurt on a vacation to a third world country and must go to the hospital.
While at this third world hospital the outsider notices how some of the practice’s at the hospital are out-of-date and obsolete. The outsider may even think these practices are ethically Incorrect, while the doctors at the hospital Delve teen are teen Test way to Nell a patient. Well teen outsider may ell t teen doctor of new technologies and practices that have advanced medicine and medical procedures. This doctor than could very easily decide that what they are doing is a little bit wrong and therefore take the outsiders opinion in a positive way and use that outsider’s perspective to help his own culture.
Another excellent question Mingled brings up is if moral isolationism applies to judgments and opinions does it also apply to praises and compliments of a culture. I think many people are fine with other people praising or complimenting there culture but are not k with people Judging or forming negative opinions about the culture. When really in both situations the persons giving the compliment or judgment may very well have similar understandings about the topic. Mingled says that in order to praise someone or a culture you must first criticize and compare that culture to one you are more familiar with, like your own culture.
Moral isolationist would probably say that we should not make Judgments or praises about other cultures that we know very little about. Well then my question is should we be allowed to Judge our own cultures and cultures similar to ours? Since there are many things we do not know about our own culture, moral isolationist should, in principal, say that we should not Judge our own culture. If we are not allowed then to make judgments and form opinions about our culture or any other culture it is impossible to improve our knowledge and the overall knowledge of the world as a whole.
Mingled says that it would be a waste of our best “evolutionary asset, our brain. ” This statement hits me pretty hard and helps me believe even more that moral isolationism is impractical and Just flat out impossible to do. Mingled also states that, “the power of moral Judgment is, in fact, not a luxury, or a perverse indulgence of the self-righteous. It is a necessity. ” I really like this quote because I believe that moral judgment is a huge part of our daily lives and an even bigger part of who each of us are as individual people.
Mingled believes that moral isolationism “makes no sense at all” and that if moral isolationism existed we would all “loose interest in moral questions and issues. ” I think this is very true and goes to prove Just how important oral Judgment is to individual people as well as a culture as a whole. Paul Taylor: Ethical Relativism Paul Taylor, a professor at Brooklyn College, is author to many books and speaks in many of them about “Ethical Relativism. ” Taylor answers the question of “Are moral values relative or absolute?
Taylor says Ethical relativism is, in general, the idea that all ethical values and ideas are relative to the cultural norms that exist and differ from time and place. Taylor says that “What is right is what my society approves of, what is wrong is what my society disapproves of. ” I translate this as there are no such arms that can be considered “absolute” -or apply to everyone no matter when they were on earth or where they lived or even how they lived. Taylor splits Ethical Relativism into three different categories: Descriptive Relativism, Normative Ethics Relativism and Mathematical Relativism.
I will discuss Descriptive and Normative Ethics Relativism only. Descriptive Relativism I can see how many people can accept the idea of Ethical Relativism and in many ways I agree with it too. A good example is how even inside of religions, cultural norms of that time period can alter values between people who base their religion an Deletes on principals Tanat are so very scalar. As I nave tongue Ana eater to Tina a moral norm that applies to all generations and time periods I Just become more and more convinced that there are none.
For instance, there was a time when polygamy was widely accepted in religions that now scorn polygamy, the reason having to do with how girls and women were treated in society of that specific time period. I think Taylor really sums this idea up when he says “Our own contemporary world reveals a tremendous variety of ways of living. ” I think that another thing that has to be considered about as much, if not more, Han anything else is the situation and circumstances of the act. For example many would argue that killing someone is always bad.
I think that many would even say that killing is bad in all time periods. I would say that killing someone is a moral norm that depends more on how it happened rather than when it happened or in what time period. What I’m trying to say is if you kill somebody because they were going to kill you or someone else, I would say that Justifies killing more than any ethical or moral norm does. Taylor also talks about the origins of moral beliefs and moral values. I think this epic is very interesting and helps back the idea of ethical relativism very well.
Taylor argues that “Even our deepest convictions about Justice and the rights of man are originally nothing but the ‘interjected’ or ‘internalized’ views of our culture, transmitted to us through our parents and teachers. ” Taylor argues that acculturation occurs from the approvals and disapproval of our parents while we were young. He goes on to say that these approvals were reflective of the cultural norms of that specific time period. Taylor says that it is from this process in which our moral values come from.
I do agree with Taylor, however, I also believe that our values continue to change and develop as we gain more experiences and learn more about life. Normative Ethical Relativism Taylor talks about normative Ethical Relativism and why this point should be consider when speaking of ethical relativism. He talks of how the statement, “What is right in one society may be wrong in another,” is often thought of as a “factual assertion” rather than a normative claim. Taylor argues that how this phrase or statement is taken can vary greatly and that it is important how it is taken.
He says that according o the normative ethical view of this statement, norms are not to be considered valid outside of the society where they originated. This then concludes that it is not legitimate to Judge or apply norms, in any way, to somebody else’s culture. In conclusion, I would like to discuss the similarities between Moral Isolationism and Ethical Relativism. I think they are pretty much the same thing. Mingled defines Moral Isolationism as an ethical principal (one that she disagrees with) that says you cannot judge a culture or society outside of your own because they have different norms that o do not understand fully.
Taylor says Ethical Relativism is the idea that all moral values are relative to the time and place of the culture in which the cultural norms come from. Ethical Relativism is the opposite of absolute relativism. I think that Ethical Relativism is a more correct idea than Moral isolationism because we must be able to Judge other cultures even if we know very little about them; however, these judgments should not be crude and we should be open minded when thinking of other cultures. Also I think there are no true absolute morals so therefore they all must De relative.