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 ?
He refers to these misleading ethical guideposts as "false exits." Hill identifies three: ethical relativism, the law, and the problem of agency.
In contrast to the conclusions depicted above, discussions of the morality of abortion have tended to focus on attempting to defend or repudiate specific arguments in order to show which view is more rational or (less commonly) advocating an ethical relativism according to which the disagreement is not seen as a dispute about objective facts and hence does not involve incommensurable positions.
Ethical and immoral aspects are examined in light of four theories: ethical egoism, ethical relativism. Utilitarianism, and Kantian ethics.
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.
Yet from the perspective of the history of philosophy, this textual characteristic need cause neither existential despair nor cognitive or ethical relativism. The first text to exemplify it in unforgettable vividness is Plato's decidedly pre-modern Parmenides--a radical performance of self-destructing conundrums to which two thousand years of philosophy have offered remarkably clever and creative responses.
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.
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.