Re: Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

From: Erin (
Date: Sat Dec 04 2004 - 16:56:20 GMT

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    Platt Holden <> wrote:

    > I think
    > contextualism and relativism go from kissing cousins to identical
    > twins....well maybe more fraternal twins ---each situation seems like it
    > could be argued as having at least something unique about it due the
    > different individuals, different countries, different times, etc.

    My philosophy 101 makes the following distinction between contextualism
    and relativism:

    "Relativists hold that one can make ethical decision ONLY in the SOCIAL
    CONTEXT in which an ethical problem occurs." But the contextualist will
    not go along with the relativist. He will readily agree that societies do
    in fact possess different customs and codes, and that these perform the
    pragmatic function which the relativist claims they do. But that doesn't
    make such practices ethically right. The fact that a practice exists
    doesn't make it moral. What societies actually do, therefore, is no
    guideline for deciding what is ethically right. The contextualist holds
    that relevant criteria for making a meaningful ethical decision can be
    PROBLEM. (Emphasis added.)

    To put the distinction in my own words, relativism looks to society as the
    basis for morality while contextualism looks to whatever a specific
    situation calls for regardless of common ethical practices.

    But you are correct in that both appeal to unique circumstances,
    relativism requiring a much broader "context" than contextualism.


    Thank you. I thought I had clearly distinguished the two but then your last statement threw me back into confusion, almost seems like it is saying that contextualism is MORE relative, if the context is more narrow



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