ethical relativism


Also found in: Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

ethical relativism

the belief that morality is relative to the society where it exists and that its criticism and evaluation are irrelevant. Cf. relativism.
See also: Philosophy
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
They analyze the case in a four-theories framework (ethical egoism, ethical relativism, utilitarianism, and Kantian ethics), and see a silver lining in the scandal that may provide the shock necessary to change the company's corporate culture and repair various stakeholders' relationships.
Kelley commends Cohen for his ability to counter ethical relativism, but wonders whether his account sufficiently clarifies what toleration means, especially with regard to thorny issues of moral judgment.
Encyclopedia Britannica describes Ethical Relativism, an ancient ethical philiosophy, as what is morally good or bad and right or wrong is not absolute but variable and relative, depending on the person, circumstances, or social situation.
She develops a methodology for identifying ethical principles for by combining aspects of the semiotic theory of Charles Saunders Pierce and methods of comparative ethics, thereby attempting a middle ground between extreme ethical relativism and ethical absolutism.
Editor responds: As one who earned an undergrad degree in philosophy I totally reject the epistemological skepticism and the corresponding ethical relativism of the rationalist philosophers you cite.
This means that they are an instrument that is only possible due to the fact that ethical maximalism is minimized in postmodern society and, at the same time, becomes the real carrier of minimal ethics by filling the space left empty by the absolutism of values and their relativity, by ethical maximalism and the uncertainties of absolute ethical relativism.
But although ethical relativism or ethical absolutism may each be proposed as a convenient solution to the problem of how to do things right, each dispenses with doing right things.
Yet from the perspective of the history of philosophy, this textual characteristic need cause neither existential despair nor cognitive or ethical relativism.
Other early philosophers, notably the advocate of humanism and ethical relativism Protagoras, bump up against ordinary Athenians for whom we have scraps of epigraphical evidence, such as a man named Simon, who was perhaps the proprietor of a cobbler shop Socrates frequented.
Whereas conservatives frequently publish pamphlets and manuals denouncing concepts such as human rights and democracy, arguing for a crass cultural and ethical relativism, liberals have been trying to accommodate this rather than directly challenging the weak religious foundations of this political theology.
In this book Wong proposes a kind of ethical relativism which differs not only from universalism but also from the extreme versions of relativism.
As John Ladd, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Brown University, puts it in his book Ethical Relativism (1985):