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Discuss the Difference between Absolutism and Relativism in Ethics

Ethics is also recognized as a moral philosophy. It is a category of philosophy involved with the study of inquiries about correct and incorrect conducts and how we should live our lives. To live according to the ethical standards mean to consider things away from one’s benefits (Banks 3). There are two perspectives of following these ethics. Some believe that principles of behavior and ways of performing things vary from one society to another. Therefore, there can never be one particular principle for all persons everywhere, and it’s requisite for us to build ethical verdicts by each condition. Such approach to setting policies is known as Relativism. Whereas, on the other hand, some claims that there is only one set of correct ethical principles that need to be followed by every society in the world. The people who are developing such ethical standards are representing themselves to b in favor of Absolutism (Banks 8).

Ethical relativists claim that the things that are correct or incorrect, within the principles of ethics, may be different majorly from one individual to another or from one culture to another. In other opinions, as Arrington (1983) opposes, we are not able to merely say that an ethical interpretation is accurate for all reasons, individuals, and societies. He says that we are only able to proclaim that it is valid for a particular being or cultural group. Relativism doesn’t teach us to judge people from another culture and declare his conduct wrong; we should see that individual by principles of the culture where he lives. In other words, ethical values are unbiased only if perceptions about correct and incorrect are made relatively (Banks 8).

On the other hand, absolutism argues that there stays a constant and consistent ethical law which is similar for all individuals, at all intervals and places. The absolutists consider that some moral values employ to all people universally and that persons can identify or govern these moralities and be directed by them in determining the character of their action and in assessing the effects of others. Also, the moral absolutist, being previously conscious of these values, have confidence in himself or herself competent to give the interpretation on everyone. Absolutism is acknowledged effective irrespective of thinking and sensitivity. This situation is contradictory as of relativism, in such a way that there is no possibility to have the concern of other viewpoints because it is debated that there is merely one fundamental outlook (Banks, 10).

An instance of an absolutist stance rises in disputes about capital penalties. Jonathan Glover identifies two absolutist opinions. One is emphatic that the killer must be provided with the sentences he or she justifies, which is deceased, and the former can see no defense for judicial killing under any situations. An absolutist would not modify his or her assessment regarding capital penalties, does not concern what point of views was provided by whichever side (Banks, 10).

Many questions arise about the standards being persistent for all the world. On the one hand, the ethical relativist will continue to say that they should not interpret, and there exists no singular fact that employs throughout cultures and nations. On the other hand, the moral absolutist will contend that one only truth must be applied throughout all cultures and values irrespective of principles and beliefs. In support of ethical relativism, it can be said that it is accurate in cautioning us contrary to considering that our moral values symbolize some absolute principle, because several, though not all, of our ethical principles, employ to our own culture. Also, ethical relativism imparts us the worth of an open mind, of patience, and of accepting (Banks, 10).

Works Cited

Banks, Cyndi. Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice. SAGE, 2017.



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