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and wrongs. Instead, right and wrong are based on social norms. Such could be the case with "situational ethics," which is a category of ethical relativism. At any rate, ethical relativism would mean that our morals have evolved, that they have changed over time, and that they are not absolute. One advantage of ethical relativism is that it allows for a wide variety of cultures and practices. It also allows people to adapt ethically as the culture, knowledge, and technology change in society. This is a good and valid form of relativism. The disadvantage of ethical relativism is that truth, right and wrong, and justice are all relative. Just because a group of people think that something is right does not make it so. Slavery is a good example of this. BY HUGH LAFOLLETTE Ethical relativism is the thesis that ethical principles or judgments are relative to the individual or culture. When stated so vaguely relativism is embraced by numerous lay persons and a sizeable contingent of philosophers. Other philosophers, however, find the thesis patently false, even wonder how anyone could seriously entertain it. Both factions are on to something, yet both miss something significant as well. Those who whole-heartedly embrace relativism note salient respects in which ethics is relative, yet erroneously infer that ethical values are noxiously subjective. Those who reject relativism do so because they think ethics is subject to rational scrutiny, that moral views can be correct or incorrect. But in rejecting objectionable features of relativism they overlook significant yet non-pernicious ways in which ethics is relative. In short, each side harps on the opponent's weaknesses while overlooking its own flaws. That is regrettable. We are not forced to choose between relativism and rationality. There are ways in which ethical principles and behavior vary legitimately from culture to culture and individual to individual.
let us make an important distinction. therefore. which is by man‘s propensity to apply nouns to verbs. According to this philosophy. female genital mutilation (FGM) is not wrong in Somalia because the practice accords with local tradition. doctrines. as described by John Mill‘s book Utilitarianism.BY SHELDON CHUMIR ―Ethical relativism‖ is the view that what is right and wrong can only be determined or justified relative to the standards of the individual. Utilitarianism. was established as if a religion with its dogmas. group or culture in question. and especially not on a religion. On this view. ―cultural ethical relativism‖ can be stated as follows: Ethical standards vary from culture to culture. More specifically.‖ 2) UTILITARIANISM BY JOHN MILL An ethical philosophy in which the happiness of the greatest number of people in the society is considered the greatest good. principles. First. Since the link between actions and their happy or unhappy outcomes depends on the circumstances. Utilitarianism lended evidence of how religions are often born. Prescriptive relativism goes further and claims that people ought not to apply the standards of one culture to evaluating the behavior of another culture. But as we shall see. and wrong if it ends in unhappiness (pain). there are no universal moral standards which apply across cultures.Ethical relativism appeals to many people. . and proprietary terminology. no moral principle is absolute or necessary in itself under utilitarianism. an action is morally right if its consequences lead to happiness (absence of pain). it leads to a number of inconsistent and unsatisfactory conclusions. Though Utilitarianism attempted to portray the illusion that Utilitarianism is not dependent on a deity. but it is deeply wrong here because it is contrary to Canadian gender equality (amongst other reasons). for there are two main types of ethical relativism: Descriptive relativism notes that there are differences among cultures‘ ethical practices and standards without saying anything about their justification. This is usually called ―cultural relativism. of placing preexisting actions under the rule of a newly invented system of authority.
utility functions that only represent the choices that would be made by an individual are ordinal. resulting in the destruction of life and environment." This form of utilitarianism is thought of as extreme.BY LARRY NEAL GOWDY From Utilitarianism: ―The utilitarian doctrine is. and other decisions. 'As an end' ought to be the gaining of knowledge of what is correct knowledge. generally operating on the principle that the utility (happiness or satisfaction) of different people can not only be measured but also meaningfully summed over people and that utility comparisons between people are meaningful. Bentham‘s theory of utility is based on three central features: 1. that happiness is desirable. The greatest happiness principle (or utility principle) 2. partly because it is widely believed that there exists no generally acceptable way of summing utilities across people and comparing between them. of acquiring accurate information to be used for forming accurate logic and then guiding one's behaviors according to what is known to be correct behavior. all other things being only desirable as means to that end. Utility functions that can be compared and summed arithmetically are cardinal utility functions. as an end. and achieve the goal utilitarian British philosopher Jeremy Bentham described as "the greatest good for the greatest number. Artificial identification of one‘s own interests with those of others .‖ The majority of mankind finds a happiness in consuming the earth‘s resources. and the 'as an end' should never be an anti-intellectual 'whatever feels good. and Utilitarianism‘s unclarified claim for happiness cannot be accepted as a measure of ethical or moral behavior. now. and the only thing desirable.' BY JEREMY BENTHAM Utilitarianism is a moral philosophy. Egoism 3. leading to the great suffering of all living beings. production. That makes it possible to achieve a well-defined societal optimum in allocations.
if it's wrong for you. This means that every person eventually goes to heaven. The non-religious use of this word is common today in academic circles. The exact nature of this test varies widely among different factions of universalists. Note carefully the qualifying word "eventually". It is the attempt to take formal recognition that we all live in different worlds yet in the same world. it's wrong for me.3 ) UNIVERSALISM BY DAVID S. BY WENDY CONNICK Moral universalists believe that certain actions are ―good‖ or ―evil‖ regardless of an individual's beliefs. Certain behaviors are simply wrong regardless of the circumstances. on this same globe. It is commonly used to mean universal in scope. Also called moral objectivism.LAWYER This word can have many meanings but in the religious sense it has mainly one meaning outside of the Unitarian Universalist religion: universal salvation. it's right for you. In a 2007 interview Noam Chomsky defined universalism as ―If something's right for me. then a utilitarianism would say that the action is morally correct. This may imply that sinners are punished for a finite period of time after death before going to heaven. From now on we'll use this word only in it's religious sense. as could be said. Within the Unitarian Universalist religion "Universalism" has a different meaning. It attempts to globalize the view. it is sometimes said that the American labor movement was representative of universalism because it included various races and classes. universalize the scope of the ethical order. .‖ Universalism is based on the idea of a ―rational test‖ that can be applied to any ethical dilemma. For example. The driving force of universalism is this very fact. utilitarianism states that the correct rational test is ―Does my action create the maximum good for the maximum number of people?‖ If the answer is yes. to in fact. From a universalistic view it is true that not all of humanity now. this philosophy argues for the existence of a universal ethic. For example. stands in the same place or even lives in the same world. It often is taken to mean the religion of the Universalist Church prior to the merger with the Unitarians in 1961.
They prescribe obligations for everybody. Intrinsically good actions are not like this.One well known golden rule is Christian with Jewish antecedents" "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you"." Duties are duties regardless of the consequences. define rights for everybody. Immanuel Kant favoured a categorical deontological ethic where "one ought to do thus and thus. Only what is neither good nor evil in itself. they are always good in and of themselves.BY ONORAL O'NEILL'S One distinctive understanding of universalism in ethics is that ethical principles are principles for everybody. Often the proposed fundamental principle is a version of a "golden rule. for everybody without exception.."Variously formulated golden rules are found in Hindu and Confusion sacred texts. same virtues and so on). Principles which hold for everybody will prescribe or recommend the same for everybody (same obligations. such as "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you. that there can never be a good lie. list virtues for everybody. Immoral actions include lying and using people as means to an end. Telling the truth is an intrinsic good and a lie is an intrinsic evil. that is. scope and sameness of content principles with ambitious claims that a single fundamental principle provides the basis for all derivative ethical principles and ultimately for ethical judgment of particular cases. It is the claim that ethical principles hold for all and not merely for some. same rights. Universalism in ethics combine views of the form. and in many other traditions. but dependent on something else for its goodness or evil be called evil at one time and good at another. The most minimal version of ethical universalism is a claim about the form of ethical principles or standards. This theory implies that as long as you act in a moral way then the consequences of your actions don't matter. Others are prohibitions rather than injunctions.." 4 ) KANTIAN ETHICS BY FARLEX Kantian ethics is another theory of "how one should act" however it differs from the utilitarian theory in a sense that it focuses more on the actual action and the morality of that action as opposed to the consequence of that action. A strength of this approach is that one need never wonder what is the correct course of action in a complex situation.. . A second conception of universalism in ethics emphasizes the content as well as the form and scope of principles.
and never as a means to an end only BY MARIANNA PAPASTEPHANOU Therefore. Universalizing a maxim (statement) leads to it being valid. any attempt to define a contemporary cognitivist ethics founders on the problem of its dependence on. is no longer a viable means to the end) or a contradiction in will (where the will of a person contradicts what the universalization of the maxim implies)."Kant's ethics focus then only on the maxim that underlies actions and judges these to be good or bad solely on how they conform to reason. The Formulation Rule of Kantianism: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law. Moreover. Now. and the second leads to an "imperfect duty. This led to the most important part of Kant's ethics. it is according to this that the moral worth of any action is judged. which is the criterion for whether a maxim is good or bad. or replaces the god 'god' by the god 'ratio' who prescribes 'natural' law (the 'moral' way). BY WIKIPEDIA Kantian ethics are deontological. All actions are performed in accordance with some underlying maxim or principle. revolving entirely around duty rather than emotions or end goals. . to Kantian rigorism and universalism. Kant's ethics are founded on his view of rationality as the ultimate good and his belief that all people are fundamentally rational beings. which are deeply different from each other. Kant . the examination of its association with communicative ethics may shed new light on the latter. Act so that you always treat others as an end. given that ‗Kantianism‘ is one such categorization. feminist. Kant might be seen as godfather of the present 'rational' Western World that heavily undervalues intuition. this need becomes more urgent if one recalls the postmodernist. employed descriptively as well as polemically.a problem that enhances the need to involve an implicit or explicit critical comparison between discourse ethics and Kantian ethics.Kantian ethics makes the 'catholic' god into 'metaphysics'. communitarian and other objections to the Kantian transcendental subject. when universalized. or departure from. The first type leads to a "perfect duty". or to one of two contradictions — a contradiction in conception (where the maxim. the formulation of the Categorical Imperative.
A principle of distributive justice specifies how things such as rights. The first. in punishing someone for a wrong he has done (retributive justice). the term ‗justice‘ is a ‗contested concept‘. desert. talent) are relevant. it is about giving each person their due. The root idea of distributive justice. as. whereas justice accommodates the fact that we. an idea that has set later thinkers the task of working out which similarities (need. is a term that refers to society and its political arrangements as a whole. is that of ‗treating equals equally‘. Thus. in a fundamental sense. according to Aristotle. Nevertheless. BY MERRIAM WEBSTER In philosophy. The second form of justice. For him. the same. it is far from simple to specify what this means. the concept of a proper proportion between a person's deserts (what is merited) and the good and bad things that befall or are allotted to him or her. distributive justice. like ‗rights‘. is about the treatment of an individual in a particular transaction – it is about giving someone what he or she deserves or has a right to. . One way of describing the relation between rights and justice is to say that rights recognise everyone as. Justice is commonly thought to have two applications which Aristotle distinguished as ‗distributive‘ and ‗commutative‘ justice. services and so on) among a class of individuals. are all different. commutative justice. According to Plato.5 ) RIGHTS AND JUSTICE BY THE OPEN UNIVERSITY ‗Justice‘. one whose meaning is never completely fixed or finally closed and agreed upon. the key element of justice is treating like cases alike. This contestability and flexibility of outcome is what Aristotle referred to when he said that ‗justice is the mean (middle) point between conflicting claims‘. Aristotle's discussion of the virtue of justice has been the starting point for almost all Western accounts. then. is concerned with the distributions of things (rights. while living together. for example. Aristotle distinguishes between justice in the distribution of wealth or other goods (distributive justice) and justice in reparation. The notion of justice is also essential in that of the just state. a central concept in political philosophy. goods. goods and wellbeing should be distributed among a class of people.
and theories of religious morality. We will be concerned only with natural law theories of ethics: while such views arguably have some interesting implications for law. natural law manifests itself to human reason not by any external sign but by a rationally conducted examination of human nature with all its parts and relations. perhaps combined with failure by others to recognise their personhood. politics. He asserted that natural law is . The right to be treated equally. it aims to identify the defining features of natural law moral theory. Second. it is knowable and binding by nature. and religious morality. That is. attempt to recount the history of the development of natural law thought. BY VILLA NOVA UNIVERSITY Although natural law is not ―written‖ in the sense that human laws are codified. theories of politics. entitlement and equality.BY ALZHEIMER EUROPE The principle of justice could be described as the moral obligation to act on the basis of fair adjudication between competing claims. however. but in actual practice. First. theories of civil law. This article has two central objectives. it is linked to fairness. may result in a lack of distributive justice. natural law is ―virtual‖ because it exists in every human being even before one‘s power of reason is sufficiently developed to form actual ethical judgments. Cicero. it is possible that a high degree of incapacity and increased vulnerability. it aims to identify some of the main theoretical options that natural law theorists face in formulating a precise view within the constraints set by these defining features and some of the difficulties for each of these options. Nevertheless. In this sense. a number of different factors may influence actual access to treatment. 6) ETERNAL LAW ETHICS BY MARK MURPHY ‗Natural law theory‘ is a label that has been applied to theories of ethics. As such. and in some cases equal access to treatment. these implications will not be our focus here. can be found in many constitutions. It will not. One of the oldest recorded definitions of natural law comes from the Roman orator.
―Do good and avoid evil. It does not refer to the laws of nature. the moral standards that govern human behavior are. According to natural law moral theory. Hence the similarity between natural law and the aphorism. the natural law is knowable by the power of reason. The conceptual jurisprudence of John Austin provides a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of law that distinguishes law from non-law in every possible world.‖ which some have identified as "the natural law. It refers to a type of moral theory. BY KENNETH EINAR HIMMA The term ―natural law‖ is ambiguous. objectively derived from the nature of human beings and the nature of the world. The converse is also true." A general paradigm explicating the content of the natural law exhibits the following seven elements: the natural law is naturally knowable by all human beings. the laws that science aims to describe. natural law theory asserts that all human beings by their nature seek happiness and this standard defines conduct as intrinsically ethical and other conduct as intrinsically unethical. but one eternal and unchangeable law for all nations and for all times. unchanging and everlasting…. the majority of the article will focus on natural law legal theory. the natural law is naturally authoritative over all human beings. of universal application. intention. However.. not a means to another end. 3. as well as to a type of legal theory. that humans are ―hot wired‖ to avoid unhappiness. and. Human beings are ―hot wired‖ for happiness. some of these ways can be captured and formulated as general rules. (1928. the two theories intersect. but the core claims of the two kinds of theory are logically independent. the good is prior to the right. situation). there are a variety of ways in which conduct can be defective with respect to the good (i.…. Plato and Aristotle understood happiness to be a good pursued solely for its own sake as an end. goal-driven beings inclined toward the good. circumstance.There will not be a different law at Rome and at Athens. While being logically independent of natural law legal theory.right reason in agreement with nature. in some sense. Classical natural law theory such as the theory of . and different law now and in the future.e. right conduct is action that responds nondefectively to the good. namely.33) Rather than utilizing the customs and laws of a particular society as a standard for determining ethical conduct.
then look at what Allah wrote in His creation. the neo-naturalism of John Finnis is a development of classical natural law theory. The Qur‘an contains several commands Muhammad‘s followers must obey. and become a scholar whose ink will forever be more sacred than that of the martyr's "As to those who reject Faith.‖ . the procedural naturalism of Lon L. Also similar to Christianity and other religions. Similarly. ―Muhammad was only a mortal being commissioned by God to teach the word of God and lead an exemplary life. then there will be no agreement by the followers because the concept of ethics itself is an unknown. Muslims derive their Islamic ethics from the Qur‘an and the Hadith. great is the penalty they (incur). which for Islam are the Qur'an and Hadith. In contrast. Islam interprets the definition of what is ethical by what an individual deems to be right or wrong in the books' stories and teachings. Fuller is a rejection of the conceptual naturalist idea that there are necessary substantive moral constraints on the content of law. Ronald Dworkin‘s theory is a response and critique of legal positivism.Thomas Aquinas focuses on the overlap between natural law moral and legal theories. He is a living proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue. Surah 2 BY S." Qur‘an. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing. Lastly. Islam bases its beliefs and standards on the books of its faith. 7) ISLAMICS ETHICAL LAW BY LARRY NEAL GOWDY Similar to most all other ideologies. they will not believe. Again similar to most all other ideologies. if a question of correctness in ethics might be raised that is not agreed upon by all of the different ideologies' books. it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them. The Hadith presents Muhammad as the exemplary human whom Muslims must imitate in all respects. and on their eyes is a veil.‖ writes Hammuda Abdalati. And if Allah's words and laws are forever true. ―He stands in history as the best model for man in piety and perfection. All of these theories subscribe to one or more basic tenets of natural law legal theory and are important to its development and influence.PARVEZ MANZOOR Historically.
praying. should play the major role in opting for 'good' and avoiding 'bad'. As a part of this test. could have found this story so inspiring.Ram Swarup explains how the actions and judgment of Muhammad recorded in the Hadith are perceived by Muslims : The Prophet is caught as it were in the ordinary acts of his life—sleeping. Along with more general virtues.e. dispensing justice. Muhammad‘s acts were not ordinary acts. the moral is whatever he did. they were Allah‘s own acts [i.. the one all people should seek to imitate. In addition to many motivations for ethical behavior. in Surah Al-Shams (91: 7 . Thus. planning expeditions and revenge against his enemies. When viewing Islamic ethics. hating. Muslims see Muhammad as the exemplary human being. To them morality derives from the Prophet‘s actions. but his actions determine and define morality. God also gave man the basic knowledge of 'good' and 'bad' at the time of his inception. man shall indeed face separate consequences of his 'good' and 'bad' deeds. acts empowered. The Qur'an. mating. we shall see the distinction between ethical philosophy of Islam and other ethical philosophies. It was in this way and by this logic that Muhammad‘s opinions became the dogmas of Islam and his personal habits and idiosyncrasies became moral imperatives: Allah‘s commands for all believers in all ages and climes to follow. generation after generation.10) has presented this knowledge of the human soul as an evidence of the fact that soon. the Five Pillars of Practice form a core of Islamic ethics. BY MOIZ AMJAD Having understood the concept of ethics and seen the different schools of moral philosophy. Finally. according to Islam. Morality does not determine the Prophet‘s actions. anticipation of final judgment is the strongest. We shall begin with an introduction to the standard of judgment regarding ethical and unethical behavior as given by Islam and the motivating force that. eating. . guided and approved by Allah]. it is now time to focus on the ethical philosophy of Islam. every individual has been bestowed a clear standard of judgment of 'good' and 'evil' by God. One is also left to wonder how the believers. according to the tenets of Islam.
truthfulness. besides many other concepts. This sapiential sense includes. even if there is a considerable practical deviation from these values or a huge difference in the practical application of these values. honesty. moral concepts like justice. . freedom in one's personal matters etc. the knowledge of good and evil or in other words the standard of distinguishing good from evil is a part of the sapiential sense of man.Thus. honesty. according to the Ethical philosophy of Islam. helping the weak. It is for this reason that ethical values like justice. yet the concepts themselves have never been questioned and are. that there is a difference in the application of these concepts in practical life situations. universally accepted. trustworthiness and truthfulness etc. have never even been questioned philosophically. It is quite possible though. and have mostly remained.