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Soc 120 - Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility - Relativism and Ethics

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Relativism and Ethics

Malinda Richardson

SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility

Instructor Megan Reid

September 17, 2012


The article "Some Moral Minima" written by Lenn Goodman, speaks of the Relativism Theory and makes us wonder about things that are considered right and wrong. After reading this article, I come to look at morals of right and wrong in a closer perspective and realize that there are some things in the world around us that are just universally wrong, no matter how you look at it.

In this paper, I will discuss why I feel Goodman is right about most of her arguments. I will explore some of the challenges she presents to the theory of relativism, and I will list a few examples that I personally think support my discussion.

I feel Goodman was right about everything that she discussed and that it does not matter what society or culture you come from, some things are plain and simply morally wrong. We can not take the rights away from human beings whether they are men, women or children, for the sake of gaining respect or wealth. Goodman basically discusses that every human being has rights to live and be free from any or all inhumane treatment (Goodman, L. 2010). Goodman's main understanding is not to be quick on judging things that we do not understand, but to judge those things that are morally right. All people are born equal and have the right to live their life as do the violator's should have no rights to commit these unruly acts of wrong. Who are we to judge anyone or why should others have the right to murder, rape, or rip the rights away from them?

Taking a look at our history, one may consider that some of the customs or beliefs of different cultures have practiced, and still do practice, that one may object to genocide, mass executions of people that are a minority religion, slavery, torture, (and this list goes on) (Mosser, K. 2010). Would we say this is wrong when it is ok for other cultures to do since this is something they believe in and practice? In my culture, Genocide is wrong, but may be right for another. Stating that "Genocide is wrong but right for others" seems inadequate to express a sufficient strong condemnation of genocide (Mosser, K. 2010). We do not have to be rocket scientist to see that some things in this world are precisely wrong. We should not judge others for what they do, but if we strictly followed the whole relativism theory, I believe there would be a lot more chaos in the world.

Goodman listed a few challenges and put them up against relativism. She talked about rape, slavery and also polygamy. These examples I feel are true examples of ethics that are wrong and why they are not ok. Goodman discussed polygamy. I feel this subject can fall in either category. If the women of this type of marriage are willing to accept this way of living, then I see it as being ok, but if the women are forced to marry into this type of marriage, I would have to say this is wrong. No-one should



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