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ethical relativism

what is right is determined by what a culture or society says is right

ethical relativist (1)

says no absolute ethical standard independent of cultural context

ethical relativist (2)

points to apparent diversity of human values

disagreement in ethical matters

does not imply all opinions are equally correct

moral criticism

ethical relativism cannot criticize practices as long as they conform to society's standards

ethical progress

ethical relativism cannot say that moralities get better or worse

internal criticism

moral code cannot be criticized because what society says is right is right

Richard Brandt

principle as part of a moral code: (1) motivates toward required conduct, (2) leads to guilt when conduct violates it, (3) disapproves of others who conflict with it

"Follow your conscience"

depends on what our conscience says

morality and self-interest

following moral principles is not always in our best interest

having a moral principle

involves having desire to follow the principle for its own sake, because it is the right thing to do

paradox of selfishness

individuals who care only for their own happiness are less happy than those who care about others

morality in narrow sense

moral principles that guide conduct

morality in broad sense

values, ideals and aspirations that shape our lives


life goal of achieving human excellence leading to happiness

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