English 102

English 102

  • Submitted By: vinhheo
  • Date Submitted: 02/24/2009 2:23 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 3119
  • Page: 13
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Ethical (Moral) Theory aims at a general answer to each of the following questions:

1. What is right/wrong?
2. Why is it right/wrong?

But before these questions can be answered, ethics must first address the question of whether or not ethical statements can be true or false.

For instance, is a statement such as “lying is wrong” true or false?
If so, then it has a truth-maker. If not, then it does not have a truth-maker. A truth-maker is simply a state of affairs that determines that the statement is true or false.

For instance, the statement “Water is H20” is true because water is in fact H20. That is, there is a state of affairs (namely, the state of affairs that water = H20 that makes it so that the above statement is true rather than false.

Ethical statements have truth-makers if and only if there are ethical states of affairs that determine whether a given ethical statement is true or false. So, the statement “lying is wrong” is true just in case lying is in fact wrong. It is false just in case lying is in fact not wrong.

Importantly, ethical theories can be divided into two general categories based on their answer to the question: is there moral truth?

➢ Ethical Absolutism claims that an act is right/wrong just in case it is right/wrong universally.

➢ Ethical Relativism claims that an act is right/wrong just in case one’s “group” says it is.

There are three main varieties of ethical relativism, depending on the “group” in question:
i. culture
ii. religion
iii. self (individual)

Relativism has a few points in its favor:
➢ It seems “PC” because it appears to promote tolerance.
➢ It can easily explain why there is so much moral disagreement.

But, relativism also has a few points working against it:
➢ It can stop forward progress (e.g., understanding and change).
➢ It makes morality a matter of poll and/or consensus.
➢ It makes morality...

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