A Careful Preponderance of Goodman's 'Some Moral Minima'

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Relativism is the philosophical viewpoint that there are no actions that are innately immoral or moral, and that the morality of actions must be measured against the individual circumstances, from a multitude of perspectives that include the actor as well as the myriad consequences (and victims, potentially) of such an action. After reading Lenn Goodman's "Some moral minima", it becomes fairly apparent that Goodman is far from a relativist. After a lengthy, meandering introduction in which the author spans a variety of topics and nothing too much in particular, he posits the notion that there are certain acts which are in and of themselves morally wrong. Specifically, the author proposes the notion that there are four categories for such acts including genocide, terrorism, slavery, and female genital cutting and rape. A careful preponderance of Goodman's article and the challenges the author presents to relativism indicates that such moral requirements are actually valid. At the heart of the issue that Goodman presents in this article is the unifying theme that runs concurrent through all four stratifications of immoral acts: they all, essentially, present instances in which someone is enforcing his or her will on another, to the contrary of the volition of that other party. Such a practice appears to be morally incorrect, as a number of deontologists (most notably Immanuel Kant) would vociferously argue. A consideration of the four types of actions delineated by Goodman

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