Moral Relativism Essay

Question Description

Write an essay for each questions, so the total will be two essays.

Write in your opinion "NO OUT SOURCE" do not write sources

The first question should be longer essay

(First question)

Consider the crimes of rape, pedophilia, or torture (non-consensual) for sexual gratification. Are such acts wrong

in themselves or by their consequences? If so, can you square the wrongness of these acts with moral relativism?

Consider such crimes from a subjectivist point of view, then a conventionalist point of view. Can either form of moral

relativism square with the belief that such acts are objectively wrong? Consider such acts from the standpoint of

Gilbert Harmon: whether rape e.g. is wrong depends of the “agreements of particular groups”. So, e.g. rape is

wrong in one group, but under the agreement of another group it’s maybe ok. So, if you were a member of a group

who believed that rape is wrong, but visited a group that believes it is ok, would you commit rape among that

people? Put differently, if it is morally permissible for one group to do an action, and no standards exist beyond what

different groups happen to believe, then why shouldn’t you feel free to try it? After all, how can you criticize their

view simply because it is different? Can your choice to try it, be defended in a non-circular way, or a way that does

commit you to a contradiction as soon as you act? How would Hospers handle such actions? How might Pojman?

(Second question)

Consider the principle of reciprocity, which we have found in every moral philosophy that we have studied this

term except for Harmon. Assume that this principle is merely relative, and not as Pojman claims, objectively

binding. Imagine explaining how a human society anywhere, could function without the principle of reciprocity.

Does such a society exist? Could it exist? Explain.

Final Answer


Running head:


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Question One: Moral Relativism
One of the issues that arises when it comes to discussing moral relativism is the existence
of different cultural perceptions regarding certain actions. Rape, for example, can be considered
less immoral in certain cultural contexts – marital rape can be seen as morally acceptable behavior,
if culture posits that husbands have a right to have sex with their wives when possible. However,
whether marital rape occurs in a place where it is perceived as a negative thing or in a culture when
it is seen as an inevitable result of marriage, it will have consequences on the victim. The amount
of cultural acceptance of violent actions does not reduce the amount of suffering or long-term
trauma that the victim will endure. It is this inevitable negative consequence what makes it difficult
for me to rationalize the morality of these actions as being dependent on the context in which they
Societies, regardless of their cultural make up, tend to reach a stage wherein the norms and
customs that rule them come into question. Communities that currently...

eetorres (9017)
Rice University

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