The Instigator
stills02
Pro (for)
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The Contender
AsiaH
Con (against)
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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: 488 times Debate No: 34894
Debate Rounds (4)
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stills02

Pro

Moral absolutism is another part of philosophy which claims there is only one true and valid moral code for all the mankind which tells what is right and wrong. For absolutists, the universal moral code is the standard which is universal. Moral relativist thinks opposite of what absolutist thinks. Relativist believe that one should not judge morality of culture as there is nothing wrong and right.
Absolutists claim, "Morality is not relative" by following statements:
(1.)For relativists, different cultures have different moral codes.
(2.)For relativists, right and wrong are the matter of opinion of individual or community which varies among cultures.
(3.)Thus, morals are subjective for relativist.
(4.)If morals are subjective, there is no objective "truth" in morality.
(5.)If it is true that there is no objective "truth" in morality, then it itself cannot be verified and thus this conclude there is some "truth" in morality. Similarly, if it false that there is no objective "truth", then again there is some "truth" in morality which can be verified._____________________________________
(6.)According to James Rachel, there is no reason to assume that if there is some moral truth, then everyone should know it._________________________
(7.)Thus, right and wrong can be verified in some cases.
(8.)For example, murder is right if you are a relativist and wrong if not lawful for absolutist.
(9.)If you don"t believe in absolute morality, moral progress is not possible.
(10.)If you believe in moral relativism, then you deny efforts of moral reformers like Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.
(11.)If you believe moral reformers like Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King did a good job by bringing change in society, then there is an objective standard which they followed.
(12.)If you believe in moral absolutism, you can admit that there is a foundation to morality.
(13.)If you believe in moral absolutism, you do not have to rely on the opinion of the majority, and then you have freedom of thought.
(14.)If you admit that there is foundation to morality, not need to rely on majority and having freedom of thought is good.
(15.)If you are comfortable with the consequences such as sacrifice tolerance, stand up for the right, you fight to be unimpressed by the psychological effect of the anthropological fact of moral variation and would agree with the fact absolutist might not know the basis of morality and not committed to the opinion that their own moral code is true._____________________________
(16.)Then, you should believe that morality is absolute.
(17.)If you believe morality is absolute, there is one standard of moral code; there exists a notion of right and wrong.___________________________
(18.)Thus, morality is not relative.
AsiaH

Con

Relativists affirm that different values are among different cultures. Morality is relative to each society. Morals cannot be universal as the values in one society is not acceptable in a different one. One of the main argument for relativism is tolerance. Relativists believe that saying other societies" morals are wrong because it shows a lack of tolerance. Morals are relative to time, person, place and the situations. For instance, slavery was once considered to be right. However, some time later most of places have abolished slavery and now it is mostly considered to be wrong. When slavery was practiced, those people believed that they were moral just like people now that think of themselves as moral even though they do not practice slavery. This indicates the adjustment in moral standards shows that morals changes over time, therefore, they are relative. A different example to prove the argument is homosexuality in ancient Greece. Homosexuality during this time was accepted and was not looked at as not normal. Some time later homosexuality was not really accepted and it was against the moral code. This again, shows that what is morally acceptable is defined by a society. Another example to prove the argument is the Kwakiutl society. In this culture, when a person dies, whether from natural causes or not, the death had to be wiped out by the death of someone else. The members of this society went out to look for a different tribe where they found some men and children and killed them. This is seen as immoral in England or United States, but in Kwakiutl society this is normal. It cannot be proven that a certain society"s morals are inferior to others. Members of one society cannot judge other members from a different society because this is how they grew up and their morals are what they believe is true.
Benedict states that every society tries to combine itself together, while removing the behavior that is not suitable to that society"s taste or needs. This also shows that what one culture might think is right, it does not apply to other cultures.
To add to that, a grown person who would start living in a new culture, different from the one that shaped him, would be seen as abnormal in that new culture. And even though in his culture he was as normal as it gets, those instilled morals will hold him back in a different society from his own.

1.What members of one society thinks is right and wrong does not apply to other societies.
2.Morals change according to place, person, time and situation; whatever best fits a certain society.
3. Morals are different among all cultures and they are all equal.
4. There is not one set of morals that that can be applied to every society.
5. Therefore, morals are relative to cultures

The main argument is that cultural relativism is right because no set of moral standards in one society can top other society"s values or morals.
Debate Round No. 1
stills02

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting my challenge.
for a relativists, morals are subjective if that is the case there is no objective truth in morality.
If it is true that there is no objective "truth" in morality, then it itself cannot be verified and thus this conclude there is some "truth" in morality. Similarly, if it false that there is no objective "truth", then again there is some "truth" in morality which can be verified
According to James Rachel, there is no reason to assume that if there is some moral truth, then everyone should know it
Thus, right and wrong can be verified in some cases.

how would you say that murder is right of an innocent if say so then u must be agreeing with the actions of Hitler- holocaust.
AsiaH

Con

Thank you for your insight. But I have to argue that the argument that without moral absolutism societies cannot have a foundation of morality does not prove that morality is not relative. Different societies have their foundations of values without having to judge other people"s morals from different countries.
Moral progress is possible in relativism. For instance, ancient Greece believed having sexual relations with younger boys was normal and acceptable. Centuries later, Greece does not believe this is normal anymore and considerers this to be an act of abuse. Greeks acknowledged that other societies had different morals.
As for your argument that a relativist cannot defend the killing of innocent children, I have to state that even though we have different beliefs, we still have the same values.
For instance, Eskimos commit infanticide in order for their society to exist because they are forced to live in a harsh environment and have to do what is right for them to save the members of their society. When a mother has to care for an infant, it takes away valuable time for her to have a son, and males in that society bring valuable resources that are vital to their survival.
Debate Round No. 2
stills02

Pro

thank you for your arguement.
"without moral absolutism societies cannot have a foundation of morality does not prove that morality is not relative"
yes, it is true I guess you are believing that without moral absolutism ther cannot be any foundation, ok here is my arguement if there is no foundation to a society there will be lot of confusion as anyone can do anything and there will be no ideal standard to look at. So, in order to say a judement of someone's action there has to be a standard morality.

secondly, you said "moral progress is possible in reativism."
my point is that i think you wanted to say that it is not as I see that a relativist do not judge anyone if one cannot judge there cannot be any progress.
AsiaH

Con

Thank you for your counter argument.
I still have to disagree with your statement; it still does not prove that morality is not relative.
Societies do what is best in their situations for their survival. United States does not have to face hunger or extreme cold weather all year long like Eskimos do, therefore, they cannot judge what is going on in a different society where they do things for their survival.
Debate Round No. 3
stills02

Pro

For the relativists, there is no common standard which can be applied to judge various civilizations.The concept of right and wrong should be understood within the social group. Nevertheless, it contradicts its statement because within a social group common standard exists. If this is the case, then everyone will be relatively right.
For absolutists, since there is one standard of moral code, there exists a notion of what is right and wrong. It can compare the practices of different culture based on its moral code.Absolutist justifies that certain illegitimate practices like slavery exist in earlier civilization as a matter of ignorance of truth.
if there is no standard then we would have no logical right to claim to resist crime because then we should have to consider minority groups of criminals relatively as good as majority innocents.
Thus, ethical relativity is a disaster because lack of standards leads to confusion in judging present society because then everyone is right (which is not true) and thus one should believe ethics is absolute.
thus, morality is not relative
AsiaH

Con

Thank you. You stated that that some truth can be verified, however, you have not stated any examples where this is true. Relativists have no right to put their judgments on some values where the situations vary greatly. By you stating that there is only some truth that can be verified, does that mean everything else is wrong. Absolutism does not tolerate other societies where there are values that are believed to be wrong. If you haven"t been in that situation, how can you pass your opinion on it. You also stated that murder is right for relativists, but that depends on the society. So for one relativist is might be right, and for another it might be wrong.
Debate Round No. 4
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