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The Contender
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Morality is not Relative

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 424 times Debate No: 34892
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




Against Moral Relativism

Moral Relativism Denies Moral Progression

(1)Moral Relativism claims that the standards of specific social groups are the only standards that exist.
(2) People regularly believe that the moral views of one nation are superior to another, in other words we continuously are comparing one civilization to another and look to one being better or worse.
(3) These thoughts on a Moral Relativist standpoint have no meaning. Moral Relativity asserts that these beliefs hold no ground, but this implies that the idea of moral progression is invalid.
(4)The disregard for moral progression implies that there is no advance from worse to better; moral relativist would not be able to say that moral standards have progressed or regressed.
Change is not taken into consideration.
(5)Change is something that makes Moral Relativism a faulty argument. People change their mind about moral practices all the time, then they claim to be mistaken.
(6) One day a person may feel that eating meat is fine, but the next day once they learn new facts, they realize this is wrong immoral and it becomes morally wrong to eat animals. The same way an individual changes their mind about something being wrong so can an entire society


Morality is relative.

Depending on where a person was born or grew up, they would have a different set of ideas and values from a person who is from halfway around the world. Each society has developed their own set of moral codes that determine how their people act and what they believe in. For example, in our society is it perfectly acceptable to consume cow meat whereas in India it is completely unacceptable. Their customs and beliefs dictate that they do not eat beef, while here it is no big deal. Each society in the different countries all has their own reasoning and ways of thinking that created the different moral codes. Sometimes it can go as far as something that is abnormal in our society is the basis for another culture. This demonstrates how incredibly different each society thinks. While we depend on being able to trust one another, the people of the island of Melanesia do not trust anyone. It is considered abnormal for a person to be willing to help others. That person would be considered as weird and crazy in their society, while it would be completely normal in ours and maybe even a model citizen.
The moral codes that are implemented in each culture are dependent on what the people decide as the right thing to do. Their idea of normal also comes from this standard. Normal would be the accepted behavior as dictated by the moral codes which are essentially the right thing to do. As the moral codes are different from culture to culture, so will the definition of normal as shown in the previously mentioned examples. This results in the idea of normal as being relative as well.
The decision of the normal standard is based upon the majority opinion of the population. This opinion is presumably the "right" thing to do in situations, as agreed upon by the majority of the population. Most people are generally accepting and only a few would be against the majority opinion. Therefore, the standards are dependent on the majority opinion of the population concerning what is normal and what is considered as right.
Ethics are relative by:
1)Each culture had its own set of moral codes and values that its people believe in.
2)What a society considers as normal depends on what they believe to be the moral choice.
3)The majority opinion, which is very accepting, decides what the definition of normal is and the moral codes are.
4)The people are different in each society which results in different moral codes.
5)Therefore, ethics is relative.
Debate Round No. 1


1) Yes it is true everyone views things differently, but perception its self is what makes moral relativism faulty, everyone's perception changes what you perceived to be correct as child you may not perceive to be correct today. The same things goes for relativism
2) Secondly, it is difficult to say moral relativism is correct, based solely on what is right here is not right there, it is faulty argument which lacks valid reasoning, because "feelings" are not valid, but what facts back up this reasoning.
3) There are universal codes that we all follow do we not? it is wrong everywhere to murder and it is wrong everywhere to lie.


This is true, and i agree that the moral codes have changed over time. But it still depends on the thoughts of the people in the culture and time period. Everyone thinks differently and has their own set of traditions that still survive today even if they have changed somewhat. For example, today christmas is celebrated by many cultures. Some have a more religious take on it whereas some are more focused on the secular traditions such as gift giving and decorating a tree. However it still remains that this tradition has survived over time. Thinking changes, and so do the moral codes just as they change as you go from society to society. It is as we learned in class with the island of Melanesia. Their society is based on not trusting a single person. And the person that does share and want to help is ostracized. This is how they think and how their society functions. Just because we think differently does not make them wrong. They have survived with their own moral codes that work for them.

We have no idea what this universal set of moral codes is or if it even exists. It has forced each group of people to think for themselves and come up with their own set of moral codes that will allow their society to function as they see fit. Yes there are overlaps in these codes, but they are all still different. What we consider as totally unacceptable, another society uses as a base for their entire structure. Just because societies share some codes does not mean that it is the same everywhere and to everyone. There were the Indian tribes who would think it necessary to kill in response to a death. THis is not accepted everywhere
Debate Round No. 2


Yes you are right here most people generally celebrate christmas, and we live in America where it appears everyone is a moral relativist. But, what makes moral relativity questionable is that it promotes "everyone sees sees these different", but does it really. Within a society isn't the majority technically against moral relativity? Is there not a wrong and right in every society, this actually diminishes the idea of morally realitivity.
Lets look at America, where hey everyone appears to be a relativist, but let someone come here and say I think we are going to eat humans for dinner tonight, wait, all of a sudden we all become moral absolutist. This is because in essence everyone is a moral absolutist, because in the back of out minds we like to think we are moral relativist, but we know that it is wrong. Not only do we know it is wrong but we cant help but judge them, and smile and say" hey, whatever is good for you is good for you when we know that we don't genuinely believe that.
If there was such a thing as moral relativity then there would be no laws, we would just all say, hey to each its own we are all moral relatvist!
Ultimately, we all like to say we are relativists, but within our own culture we are trained to be moral absolutist.


We are not in the right place to pass judgment on anyone. No one really knows what exactly is right and what is wrong. As mentioned before, there is no real way to know what this universal set of moral codes consists of. For all we know, the people of Melanesia or the Indian tribes are the right ones in not trusting anyone or killing in response to a death in the tribe. Without any direction to point us in the factually right way, we have to decide for ourselves what we consider to be right and normal, and what we consider as the wrong thing to do and an unacceptable behavior. Some that we think are obvious in our society are completely different in another. It all depends on where you are and what culture you are dealing with. What gives us the right to say that other people are wrong and that this is the way things should be done? No one has that right because we are all human beings on the same level. We may think other people to be below us and that we have the right ideas and morals but there is no way to say for sure. What we are left with is what we decide for ourselves. The majority opinion is usually the deciding factor in this. The population decides for itself what can work and what cannot.

Everyone in america does not appear to be an absolutist because we still have many people who do not want to judge others in comparison to our own ways. We understand that everyone is different in America and that was how this country was formed as well. This country is built on immigrants who wanted a better life. When they came here they brought with them all of their different values and morals. We still see in each neighborhood the majority of the people are one culture and that is how things are done in that specific area. Even in a new land people still carry with them what they were taught. It was how they grew up, and when faced with other different and possibly strange ideas they realized that we are all different and that there was no way to decide who is right and who is wrong. There is no way to judge that. But each society is unique and has gotten by just fine with the laws and codes they have thought up for themselves.
Debate Round No. 3


If there is not real way to know what is right and wrong, then there is no real way to establish there is no right and wrong. This is essentially what makes Moral Relativism faulty, it is the lack of evidence. Then ofcourse, we can say that if I were to pick any random country and said I am going to kill a stranger for no particular reason, then I am sure someone will find that wrong, because as I said previously there are universal moral standards that no matter where you go it will be wrong.
Yes I agree there is "no one to judge" of what is right or wrong, but at the same time we are all in our own right moral absolutist. In a society we all know what is right or wrong and we may say we are tolerant, but we know that we do not agree with baby murders, hence each society has a moral absolutist view. Secondly, in any society if a mother nurtures and cares for a baby throughout its infancy, that mother would be highly upset if you were to just come and murder her baby. Hence there is an idea of universal code. The idea of moral relativity in essence appears synonymous to the idea of having an opinion, we all have opinion. An opinion does not mean there is not right or wrong there will always be a right or wrong. Thus, this means that despite everyone everywhere "feels", does not mean there is no wrong. Yes there are societies that have different views, but that does not equate that their views are correct it is a matter of opinion.


If there is no way that a factual right and wrong was established then what other option are we left with other than to establish our own set of moral codes? As long as the society functions with these codes then there is no issue with them. Once the people accept and follow their codes, that becomes their own unique set that they believe in. No one set is the same.There may be similarities but no two set is completely the same. Each has its own set of peices that makes it specific to a culture or society. I mentioned before a society where it was completely acceptable to go out and kill. We see this as totally out of the question because it was how we were raised and it is the values of the society we were born into and all we know. Other societies would have different opinions on the matter.

If we are all moral absolutists why does this debate even exist? If we were all moral absolutists there would be no issues to discuss. Similarities in moral codes does not indicate that there is a universal set. It may indicate similar thinking, but that is all. Infanticide is looked down upon in many cultures but that does not mean it is not done. THere are situations where it cannot be avoided, such as in the society of Eskimos. They are not able to support large populations and end up killing their children to spare them from a life of starvation and difficulty.

The fact remains that there is no evidence for this universal set of codes. We have relied on our own thoughts and ideas up to now. There is no real way to know which society is factually right or wrong. THus each culture has created its own and has lived by them. If a problem arised, it was taken care of and the codes were ammended as the population saw fit.
Debate Round No. 4
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Vote Placed by effimero89 3 years ago
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