Guide A Refutation Of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist

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JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. A refutation of moral relativism. Thread starter Graney Start date Nov 15, Graney Horse liberty. It's written as a fictional transcript of an interview between "'Isa a Muslim fundamentalist from Palestine who teaches philosophy at the American University in Beirut.

His interviewer and sparring partner is Libby Rawls, an African-American, liberal feminist journalist. Moral relativism is absolutely demolished, in every sense. All the popular arguements for moral relativism are put forward and soundly rejected. What makes it so great, is he uses clear, logical, scientific reasoning to make the case for absolutism.

If you've read any of my posts, you'd know I'm an extreme relativist, so this book, and the strength of it's arguments came as a surprise to me. I would be interested to hear from any of the intelligent bos relativists, enteebee, kfunk I'm presuming he's a relativist? I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone who has participated in the "does god exist thread", it's very accessible, and a strong argument. Sounds really good though from the reviews and while I don't really read much I do normally around christmas time order a heap of books and this just got added to the list I'll probably bump this in 3 months.

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Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press, San Francisco. Here are the arguments for moral relativism Kreeft believes he demolishes: 1. Absolutism has bad consequences. Different cultures have different values. Values are socially conditioned. Relativism gives people freedom.

Relativism is tolerant. Morality is relative to changing situations. Morality is relative to changing intentions. Morality can be explained by evolution as a survival device. Kreeft considers Nazism a form of relativism because its absolutes disagree with his, which of course are the only correct ones, a claim implicit but unproven throughout the book. If his semantic juggling is to be of any use, Kreeft needs to prove his claim to have such standards, and he fails to.

Absolutism has better consequences.

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Does that make it probably true? Moral experience. Only later do you get relativism—later in the life of the individual or of the society … we can all remember what moral experience was like before we became sophisticated. It was absolute. Moral relativism … denies the data…. Moral absolutism is empirical, or experiential. Then why do people disagree? How can we tell who is speaking and acting out of the genuine dictates of the one true universal conscience?

By observing whose actions are in accord with true moral teachings. How do we know which moral teachings are true? Our conscience immediately tells us.

A Refutation of Moral Relativism Quotes

But what about people who disagree with us, and make the same claim about what their conscience is telling them? Their claims are false. How do we know their claims are false? Because they disagree with what our conscience tells us and with what their conscience, if they were honest and clear with themselves, would tell them. And round and round, with nothing on which to rest this self-reinforcing circle of certainty. How we use moral language. According to C. Lewis, we speak as though we believe there are moral absolutes.

Even if this were true, it would hardly prove there really are such things. The conclusions that follow from this tactic are convincing only to believers, which is what makes Lewis both a useful and useless apologist. We've got kind of a contradiction in the first and third paragraphs.

Relativism - Fatal Flaw #1 - Moral Absolutes Exist

The first two paragrpahs describe 'moral absoluteness' as exactly that, an absolute condidtion. But paragraph 3 opens with describing the same conditins outlined in the opening paragraph and the second paragrpah as "a minority position". Morals are inherent in the laws of the universe, the nature of humanity, the will or character of God or gods, or some other fundamental source.

Moral absolutists regard actions as inherently moral or immoral. Moral absolutists might, for example, judge slavery, war, dictatorship, the death penalty, or childhood abuse to be absolutely and inarguably immoral regardless of the beliefs and goals of a culture that engages in these practices.

In a minority of cases, moral absolutism is taken to the more constrained position that actions are moral or immoral regardless of the circumstances in which they occur. I don't know if this was paraphrased from someones work, but the second paragrpah needs some work as well, as it is taking a postion in the first sentence. But the third paragraph basically seems to say "The actual, basic definition mentioned above is a minority view.

I notice there has already been much discussion here about whether moral absolutism means the same thing as moral univeralism, and so forth.

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That question is a part of a larger project I am undertaking, regarding disambiguating the terms moral realism , moral objectivism , moral universalism , moral absolutism , and moral relativism. Since no one has commented in over a week, I've gone ahead and cleaned up this article per the larger metaethics reorganization in progress.

As a part of that, I've removed the following unclear and unsourced passage from the article, which I post here in case anyone cares to work it back in in better form:. Semi-religious arguments for moral absolutism have to do with the relationship between free will , choice, and morals. Some have argued that without free will, the universe is deterministic and therefore morally uninteresting i. If free will exists, it stands to reason that the universe allows moral behavior [ who? From this, some believe this feature is integral to the universe's reason for being.

A softer, more theological, line of reasoning is that God may 'need' to permit us to have choices, but leaves the concerns of those choices and their consequences up to the people making them [ who? In this case, moral absolutism is a subjective decision i. These views are generally not accepted by those who deny free will. Some, in fact, deny free will and still accept moral absolutism—and argue that these two beliefs are inextricably tied [ who?


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A primary criticism of moral absolutism regards how we come to know what the "absolute" morals are. The authorities that are quoted as sources of absolute morality are all subject to human interpretation, and multiple views abound on them. For morals to be truly absolute, they would have to have a universally unquestioned source, interpretation and authority. Therefore, so critics say, there is no conceivable source of such morals, and none can be called "absolute" [ who?

So even if there are absolute morals, there will never be universal agreement on just what those morals are [ citation needed ].

source url The philosopher Immanuel Kant was a promoter of moral absolutism. The philosopher Plato and his student, Aristotle , also believed in universalism, opposing the moral relativism of the Sophists. The definition of slavery in biblical times is not as we know it today, although that form of slavery did exist. The more literal translation for the term slavery used in the new testament is bond-servant. They were considered servants rather than slaves, and usually worked to pay off debts.


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The average term was six years, possibly longer depending on the debt. At the end of their indentured service, they were free to go. Not exactly a relevant comparison to the slavery of the Confederate states. The writers bias oozes all over this article. Not to mention the complete lack of substance. For a page devoted to such a prominent philosophical concept, this page seems surprisingly short and unsatisfactory. Shouldn't there be a "History" section tracing the concept of the moral absolute through religious and philosophical history, discussing which prominent philosophers asserted it, which ones specifically denied it, and so forth?