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Relativism, Pojman’s article… Revisit old notes, pointing out important distinction between differences in values and differences

in custom—a distinction lacking in the NCR case. Make a brief comment about how this distinction could save what might have been an important aspect motivating the NCR argument in the first place. The first form of argument that Pojman concerns himself with is not identical to the argument we see in Rachels. The one he presents is different. It states: 1. Moral rightness and wrongness of actions vary from society to society, so there are no universal moral standards held by all societies. 2. Whether or not it is right for individuals to act in a certain way depends on the society to which they belong. 3. Therefore, there are no absolute or objective moral standards that apply to all people at all times. Note, this is a different argument than Rachels evaluated. His was an argument that says P2 follows logically from the first part of P1. This one states that 3 follows from both one and two together. But Pojman moves on to look at stronger claims of relativism than the NCR thesis. He discusses “subjectivism”. What is that? (Let them respond). “Morality is in the eye of the beholder.” Value judgments are subjective. The individual determines what is right and wrong. Discuss this with them. See if they defend it. (Find a way to bring up the grading process and the You wore a blue shirt, I like blue, you get an A”) Absurd consequences follow from this position. If it’s true then morality reduces to mere aesthetic judgments. Further, most people who claim to defend it are not consistent with it. (They are better than their ideas.) This is obvious by their rejection of certain behaviors. Further, our common language and ability to agree communally belies the strong claim of subjectivism, that would have each person an island to themselves. His discussion of “Conventionalism” has certain overlaps with Rachels’ essay. He uses the term “conventionalism” to refer to the claim that moral principles are justified (or made true) by virtue of their being culturally accepted. (Note: this is his term for NCR) One thing he points out is that if this assertion is true, there could be no room for reform, etc.) Why does he say this? (Answer: whatever is in place at a given time is the moral, and therefore, any attempt at reform would itself be immoral. Note the positivistic aspect here.)

But he also raises an interesting question: when does a subculture or group become large enough for its principles to be deemed true or moral One interesting thing he does say, though, in his analysis is that Conventionalism (which we know as NCR) is that it seems to reduce to subjectivism. Why does he make this claim? See p. 44 Note: if you plan to defend NCR don’t forget about these points against it. Unless there are any questions about that section of his essay, I would like next time to move on to the biggest chunk of his essay, where he attempts to make a case for “Moral Objectivism.” Thus far we’ve only discussed the criticisms of NCR. Now we see if we can put something in its place, --making a positive case instead of shooting at other ideologies. I would like to take next time to move forward to his discussion of ethical objectivism, in which he attempts to make a positive case for the claim that there are objective moral standards. Be thinking of the following questions: 1. On what grounds does he try to build his argument(s). 2. Do you think he is successful. Read critically.