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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: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 776 times Debate No: 34895
Debate Rounds (4)
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Many people have disputes on morality to be relative or non relative. I would have to agree that is is not relative for many reasons. Our culture mostly agrees on what is right and wrong. For example, murder would be considered morally wrong, because it is considered a bad thing to kill an innocent person. If morals are relative, then it would be ok to do bad things and get away with it, because with morality being relative, then no one can tell us we were wrong for that.
If we are to say morality is relative, then no one would accept change in their lives. People would feel more comfortable to stay the way they have been for years, because that"s the way life should be. Moral codes are suppose to constantly change in order to provide a better life for people to live. If these codes were not to change, then racism or slavery would still be happening today. Morality cannot be a subjective matter.
We must have this moral code in place in order for our society to function well. Without these moral codes, our society would be in turmoil. Sure, societies have certain moral codes that we would consider unheard of, but they need those in order to function properly. No one society has a better moral code than the other, because every societies moral codes differ from one another. It may be ok for Eskimos to abandon the elderly someone on a street and leave them there to die because they are considered useless. But, our culture would never do such a thing, because it is considered wrong to do so. We must understand that they do that following their cultures traditions, and they follow their moral codes to help their societies to function well.


The counter argument against ethics is not relative is that ethics is relative. The arguments for this claim are these:
(1) If ethics is not not relative, then ethics is relative.
(2) If ethics is relative, then what is considered good is what the society believes to be good.
(3) If society is decide what is morally right or wrong for the society, then every opinion is acceptable.
(4) If everyone's opinion is acceptable, then there would not be any standards that say what is morally wrong or right.
(5) Then since these standard does not exist, for one culture something can be morally wrong while it can be morally right for another society.
(6) Therefore, ethics is relative since what is morally right or wrong can differ from society.
Debate Round No. 1


I understand what you're saying, but an opinion cannot run a society. We need these moral codes in order for our society to function properly. If we base things on opinions, then the society would be in complete chaos. Imagine if killing someone was in the matter of ones opinion, that would never be viewed as morally wrong. I understand that killing someone in self defense can be a good thing, but what if it wasn't self defense? what if this person just killed an innocent person just because? that is why our court system is set up, to determine whether or not it was self defense. If the court system was based on opinions like "I felt like it was self defense, therefore it is ok" then everyone and nayone can get away with murder.

That is why we are assigned to our moral codes; to understand why our society functions the way it functions. We need to know that we follow these codes in order to know what is morally right from wrong.


I disagree with your argument that "Our culture mostly agrees on what is right and wrong". Not all cultures think the same things are morally right or wrong. For example, murder for some cultures is morally wrong but for others is morally right. I do see your point that we value the same things even if we have different beliefs. Yet, the point is that realistically we do not see some things the way others see it. Therefore, my argument is this:
(1)Ethics relativism believes that there are many opinions.
(2)These opinions should be acceptable because they are what society believes.
(3)Therefore, no culture should say that something is morally right or wrong.
(4)If they say something is morally right or wrong is according to what they believe in their culture.
(5)Therefore, ethics is relative since what is morally right or wrong is different for every society.
Debate Round No. 2


If things were based on opinions all the time, then we wouldn"t know what is right from wrong. Not knowing right from wrong is bad because our society cant function properly. Without it functioning properly everyone would feel the need to do anything they please by judging others. One person may see rape as a good thing in their eyes, this person may be a predator. On the other hand someone else may see rape to be a bad thing, as we all see it. If morality is a relative factor, then we wouldn"t need our laws and our court systems. It would be ok to rape a child, it would be ok to kill an innocent person for no reason, it would be ok to just go up to a random person and slap them in the face.

We need these moral codes to know these things! We cannot just go out raping children, killing innocent people, and slapping people In the face. We know this to be morally wrong because we were raised this way. If we don"t follow these moral codes, people would consider our society to be a crazy society killing everyone just because we don"t trust one another.

Not all societies have all the same moral codes either. All societies are different from one another because they have their own traditions they follow. It may be ok to killing someone out of revenge for killing someone another family member of theirs. In our society it is wrong to do so, and can result in jail time. We have to be open minded with other societies cultures because of this. We cannot jump to conclusions about other societies moral codes, because they need those in order to function, just as much as we need ours in order to function.

Morality is not a subjective matter at all. It cannot be based on ones opinions due to the fact that it can cause turmoil. These codes are necessary to create order and peace in the society. Again lets use another example. Eskimo men marry at least 5 different wives. They do this because this is their tradition, and because their moral code allows them to do so. We view this as abnormal because our societal moral code does not allow us to marry many women at the same time. if we were to do so, we would be brought to a court of law and dispute this in court.


I see your point of having moral codes as a way of having social progress. Yet, if Ethics is not relative then people would not have different believes. For example, let us use time as a way to see ethics. People from before did not have the same beliefs that we do now. For example, we see the fact that little young boys had sex with older men as something morally wrong. However, for them it was not morally wrong. In addition every society sees the world different. So this is another argument that I have
(1)If ethics is relative, then these moral codes do not exist.
(2)If these moral codes are not necessary for the progress of society since they believe the action is morally right.
(3)If the action is morally right for them then there cannot be any objection to it within the society.
(4)If there is not an objection, then society is progressing since all individuals in the society agree with this action as to be morally right.
(5)Therefore, ethics is relative since all individuals in that society would agree that an action is morally right.

Another question that I might ask is who is to say what is morally right or wrong?(Fallacy) Again, I see your point when you say that we need this moral codes. But, who is going to say what is morally right or wrong. Yet, they do not define if a society would progress or not. We've seen in many cases societies that have progressed without the need of moral codes. There are many societies in the world to say that one is right and the rest is wrong. They believe that their actions are right and therefore, we need to accept it since it is the way they think.
Debate Round No. 3


Many opinions cannot form the basis of society. Although opinions do matter at times, it cannot matter all the time, especially with crimes. Child molesters cannot be let off the hook just because they say they are sorry for what they did and you feel like they should be given a second chance cause you think they would do the right thing come next time.

No. We cannot feel bad because we feel bad. We cannot do things to other innocent people just because we felt like it. We need our laws, our moral codes to let us know what is right and what is wrong. We cannot function without our laws! A lot of people would be let off the hook in court if our jury was to feel bad for the person who committed the crime. Our jury needs to know that our laws cannot let these people commit these crimes, and people need to know what is right and what is wrong. Opinions cannot determine this matter what is right from one. One might think killing is right, and sharing their cookies with someone is wrong.

We were raised to know that killing is morally bad, and sharing cookies with someone is morally good. We know this, and plus this is our moral code. Everyone understands that we need these in order to know what is right and what is wrong. Without this we cannot form judgments about things. Our moral code is constantly changing as well. We need them to constantly change, because our way of life is constantly changing as well. We don't act the way we acted 50 years ago, where there was no marriage before sex, and you had to marry at age 30. That has all changed because teenagers are now having sex at young ages, and people are getting married at young ages as well.


We do need to take into consideration that people think differently and that due to this is why we can achieve social progress. A society can function without the need of these moral codes since it is the main reason why we do not do the things we did before. Our actions from the pass make us who we are. I think that ethics is relative because since people think different they can learn from their actions to improve their society. We see the world one way. This does not necessarily mean that others should think the way we do. This is unfair for others. For example, a person that has grown in a society where murder is allowed should not be considered morally wrong. This is the only thing the person has experienced and knows. Therefore, we cannot judge the individual based on what we think is morally right or wrong. By rejecting this person we are taking the person out of the world just because we want. Therefore, we should not judge other cultures based on their actions since we do not know their motives for this action. And again I raise my point that ethics is relative since people need to think different according to what they think and what they had experience. It is our evironment that determine who we are as a person. Therefore, we as a society should accept what other people think because is the only way they can be part of society. To say something is morally right or wrong does not makethe action morally right or wrong.

Back to my argument about who is to say what is morally right or wrong? no one can say what is morally right or wrong since that person that might say what is morally right or wrong can be wrong. I might think that person is wrong. Then, everyone's opinion should be accepted by others since it is the onoly way in which people can live in peace and harmony. This moral codes are not helpful to the progress of society since people are going to think differently even if they have moral standards that need to be follor. For example, murder. Murder is illegeal. Yet, some people still do it. What im trying to say is that we need to look at the reasons behind people's actions.
Debate Round No. 4
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