The Instigator
asingh034
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
m.sauberman19
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Morality is not Relative

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,786 times Debate No: 34893
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

asingh034

Pro

who believe in one universal moral truth, and cultural relativists, who believe that morality is culturally based, is not new. Philosophers contemplated objectivity in ethics since the time of Socrates and have yet to find an answer. The Cultural Differences argument, used to defend cultural relativism, is widely supported as proof that morality is culturally influences.
m.sauberman19

Con

Morality being relative depends on a number of factors, such as, culture, geographic accident, and the time period. Each of these factors plays a crucial role in determining whether morality is relative or not, however the most important factor seems to be culture. Although many philosophers like James Rachel"s, W.T Stace, and Ruth Benedict have argued over this topic, I believe that morality could be relative in some cases and not relative in others.
Ruth Benedict argued that morality is relative; she demonstrates this by stating that what may be culturally normal to some cultures, may seem to be culturally abnormal to others. For example
(1.)What we believed to be defined as culturally normal has been "forced" upon us since birth.
(2.)"A normal action is one at which falls well within the limits of expected behavior for a particular society." (90.5)
(3.)"The small portion of the number of the deviants in the sure instinct with which that society has built itself upon fundamental sanities, but of universal facts that happily, the majority of mankind quite readily takes any shape that is presented to them." (91.4)
(4.)"No civilization can possibly utilize in all its mores the whole potential range of human behavior." (90.2)
(5.)"We recognize that morality differs in every society, and is a convenient term for socially appropriate habits." (90.4.4)
In Sum, Ruth basically argues the fact that from birth that what we perceive as culturally acceptable has been taught to us through our parents and other people in our society. Whether they are teachers, or a religious leader in our society, we are shaped by all these experiences.
James Rachel"s argues that moral codes are a key aspect of moral relativism, due to the fact that moral codes differ amongst different cultures. For example
(1.)The Greeks believed that it is wrong to eat the dead whereas, the Callatians believed it was right to eat the dead (3.P.1)
(2.)Therefore, eating the dead is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture (4.P.1)
(3.)Eskimos see nothing wrong with infanticide, due to the fact that they use it as a method to help them survive. (2.P.2)
(4.) Whereas, if you look at our society we believe that infanticide is immoral, because we are taking an innocent persons life (4.P.2)
(5.)Hence, infanticide is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture. (4.P.3)

In Sum, through his example James Rachel"s is trying to demonstrate that just because one culture does not share the same practice as the other culture. It does not mean that the other culture is wrong; it just means that they follow a different moral code.
Debate Round No. 1
asingh034

Pro

The debate between cultural absolutists, who believe in one universal moral truth, and cultural relativists, who believe that morality is culturally based, is not new. Philosophers contemplated objectivity in ethics since the time of Socrates and have yet to find an answer. The Cultural Differences argument, used to defend cultural relativism, is widely supported as proof that morality is culturally influences. I believe, however, that the logic used in this argument is extremely flawed. In this rebuttal against the notion of relative morality, I will debunk the Cultural Differences argument and attest to the absolute and universal nature of ethics.
The Cultural Differences argument, which entails that different cultures have different moral codes and therefore, there is no objective "truth" in morality, is simply unsound. Relativists claim that since right and wrong (morals) are only matters of opinion, and morals vary from culture to culture, morality must be relative to culture. This is not logical because belief does not instantly imply truth. If a culture believes that the earth is flat and another culture believes that it is round, a lack of objective "truth" in geography is not implied. Cultural relativism completely bypasses the fact that one culture could be right while the other is simply mistaken. Furthermore, belief in cultural relativism has vitiating results to society. For example, we would no longer be able to say that one society was morally better than or inferior to the other. This is seemingly harmless until matters of moral dilemma are brought up such as anti-Semitism and slavery. It is common sense that a society that supports Jews and freedom is better than one that doesn"t but cultural relativism deems that observation unjust. Another problem is that we would also be able to distinguish between right and wrong by consulting our society.
m.sauberman19

Con

Morality is relative according to James Rachels moral codes are a key aspect of moral relativism, due to the fact that moral codes differ amongst different cultures. making Moral relativism possible
Debate Round No. 2
asingh034

Pro

It is common sense that a society that supports Jews and freedom is better than one that doesn"t but cultural relativism deems that observation unjust. Another problem is that we would also be able to distinguish between right and wrong by consulting our society. Of course, we know that our society is often in charge of upholding morally impermissible structures but there would be no room to argue. Even if we found wrongness in our society, we would not be able to progress because all things are relative. Women have been given the right to vote and read freely but with cultural relativity, it cannot be claimed that this is any better than it was in the past; it is simply different. In addition, cultural relativists tend to mistake similarities for differences. The example of the Greeks, who burn their dead, and the Callatians, who eat their dead, is one which is used to justify the relativity of morality. The problem with this is that they are viewing only the action event rather than the action type. The event may be different but arguing that these are both equal is redundant since they are the same action type (honoring the dead). With further analysis, it is not difficult to see that, when it comes down to essentials, cultures really aren"t that different.
m.sauberman19

Con

Disregarding my previous arguments, which were completely pro relativism. There have been many philosophers like W.T Stace and James Rachels whom argue that morality is not at all relative.

James Rachel stated that, "It is not a sound argument. The trouble is that the conclusion does not really follow the premises, even if the premises are true, the conclusion still might be false." (4.P.1)

(1.)The Premise concern what we believe, in some societies people may believe one thing and in other societies, people may believe differently. (4.P.3)
(2.)The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead; the Callatians believed it was right (4.P.1)
(3.)This does not follow from the mere fact that they disagreed, there is no objective truth in the matter (4.P.2)
(4.)The practice could be objectively right or wrong, and one of them was just simply mistaken (4.P.3)
(5.)Some societies believe the earth is flat. In other societies, such as our own people believe the earth is roughly spherical. (5.P.1)

In sum, Rachels states that morality cannot be relative due to the fact that the premises don"t match the conclusion. Just because a society has different practices from one another does not mean that the other society has the wrong practice, it just means that they have different beliefs that are expressed in different ways
Debate Round No. 3
asingh034

Pro

I believe this is due to the universality of morals from which the basic standards of moral living required for societal success stem.
On its own, cultural relativism initially seems plausible but further assessment reveals it to be little more than an acceptance of defeat and a display of unwillingness to discover the truth in ethics. It is much easier to say that there is no universal moral truth, thus rendering all cultural beliefs equal and relative, than it is to say that the moral truth exists and to figure out what that is. In the scope of truth, however, what is easier to believe is not often what is true and this case is no different. Morality is not relative. It is instinctual to believe that a culture that believes in suppression of the lower ranks of hierarchy is worse than a culture that exhibits freedoms, even at the basic level. It is correct to say that this society is better, though different. Morality entails values which all humans should possess and judgments of right and wrong which should not falter. If a culture believes it is right to murder every person born on a Tuesday, it is immoral, regardless of their moral predisposition.
m.sauberman19

Con

to go back to the previous argument, you stated The example of the Greeks, who burn their dead, and the Callatians, who eat their dead, is one which is used to justify the relativity of morality. The problem with this is that they are viewing only the action event rather than the action type. The event may be different but arguing that these are both equal is redundant since they are the same action type (honoring the dead). well if morality was relative then these would be considered an equal practice, however its not we as Americans see this as cannibalism . as Stace said we should stick to moral absolutist and put everybody on the same playing field. with one moral code. As stated by Stace(1.) Ethical relativism is the philosophical position that there is no properly moral standard applicable to all at all times. (96.2.1)
(2.)However at the same time "they assert there are many moral codes and standards which one should follow." ((96.2.3-4)
(3.)Absolutist"s see that there are two uses of the word standard and they just chose one as a dominant universal code.
(4.)Relativist"s believe there should be no distinction between the two uses of the word "standard" (97.3.5)
(5.)If this is the case then they believe that standards are subjective
(6.) Hence, one needs to thinks something is right for it to be right, then dying at the hands of another person is necessarily right. (97.2.4)
(7.)Therefore, absolutist"s have the better view of Morality, and Morality cannot be relative.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by m.sauberman19 3 years ago
m.sauberman19
Morality being relative depends on a number of factors, such as, culture, geographic accident, and the time period. Each of these factors plays a crucial role in determining whether morality is relative or not, however the most important factor seems to be culture. Although many philosophers like James Rachel"s, W.T Stace, and Ruth Benedict have argued over this topic, I believe that morality could be relative in some cases and not relative in others.
Posted by asingh034 3 years ago
asingh034
The Cultural Differences argument, which entails that different cultures have different moral codes and therefore, there is no objective "truth" in morality, is simply unsound. Relativists claim that since right and wrong (morals) are only matters of opinion, and morals vary from culture to culture, morality must be relative to culture.
Posted by m.sauberman19 3 years ago
m.sauberman19
Relativity is not a sound argument, the premises don't follow the conclusion
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by effimero89 3 years ago
effimero89
asingh034m.sauberman19Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: mmmmm