The ethical relativist often argues as follows:

Wong (1996) defended a partly similar position, though one intended toallow for greater diversity in correct moral codes. He argued thatmore than one morality may be true, but there are limits on whichmoralities are true. The first point is a form of metaethicalrelativism: It says one morality may be true for one society and aconflicting morality may be true for another society. Hence, there isno one objectively correct morality for all societies. The secondpoint, however, is a concession to moral objectivism. It acknowledgesthat objective factors concerning human nature and the human situationshould determine whether or not, or to what extent, a given moralitycould be one of the true ones. The mere fact that a morality isaccepted by a society does not guarantee that it has normativeauthority in that society. For example, given our biological andpsychological make-up, not just anything could count as a good way oflife. Again, given that most persons are somewhat self-interested andthat society requires some measure of cooperation, any plausiblemorality will include a value of reciprocity (good in return for goodon some proportional basis). Since these objective limitations arequite broad, they are insufficient in themselves to establish aspecific and detailed morality: Many particular moralities areconsistent with them, and the choice among these moralities must bedetermined by the cultures of different societies.

The ethical relativist often derives support for his position by two basic mistakes:
Photo provided by Flickr

The final area in which experimental philosophy has contributed todiscussions of moral relativism pertains to the relationship betweenrelativism and moral attitudes such as tolerance. It is sometimesclaimed that some forms of moral relativism provide a reason fortolerance (see ). But are moralrelativists more likely to be tolerant than moral objectivists? Somerecent psychological studies suggest that the answer may be “yes.” Inthe face of divergent attitudes about some issue, people were morelikely to be intolerant when they regarded the issue as moral ratherthan non-moral (see Wright et. al. 2008), and they were more likely tobe intolerant when they believed the moral issue was objectivelyrather than non-objectively grounded (see Wright et. al. 2014). Inthese studies, intolerance was measured in terms of reportedwillingness to interact with or help those with divergent attitudes(among other things).


One example is known as Ethical Relativism.

At first glance moral relativism may appear ideal in allowing for individual freedom.
Photo provided by Flickr

Ethical relativism is described by John Ladd as the “doctrine that the moral rightness and wrongness of actions varies from society and that there are no absolute universal moral standards binding on all men at all times....


A Defense of Ethical Relativism (PDF Download Available)

Some versions of the a priori approach emphasize theconstraints imposed by “thinner” moral concepts such asgoodness, rightness, or morality itself (for example, see Garcia 1988).Once again, a defender of DMR might say that, if theseconcepts have enough content to preclude significant disagreement intheir application, then it is likely that many societies do not applythem at all—a form of moral disagreement in itself. Anotherresponse would be to argue, following R.M. Hare (1981), that a formalanalysis, for example in terms of a kind of prescriptivity, isplausible with respect to some thinner moral concepts, and that this isconsistent with significant moral disagreements. However, the apriori critics question the adequacy of any such analysis. Much ofthis debate concerns the acceptability of formal versus materialdefinitions of morality (see the entry on the ).

A Defense of Moral Relativism Flashcards | Quizlet

It was Daniel Little’s belief that conceptual relativism was concerned with the fact that as the world is separated into so many different countries, cultures, religions and beliefs....