Goodman's Arguments Against Relativism in 'Some Moral Minima'

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Moral minima: Goodman's arguments against relativism Given the increasing globalization of modern society, combined with the influence of postmodernism, the philosophy of moral relativism has become increasingly popular and accepted within the academy. However, according to Lenn E. Goodman's essay "Some moral minima," some things are 'just wrong.' Goodman writes: "All living beings make claims to life" (Goodman 2010: 88). In other words, to protect the sanctity of human life, sometimes it is necessary to lay down certain absolute ground rules of morality that, regardless of cultural differences, must be obeyed. These include prohibiting: terrorism; hostage taking and child warriors; slavery, polygamy, and incest; and rape and female genital cutting (Goodman 2010: 88). However, while these ideas may seem like 'no brainers' in terms of the moral revulsion which they inspire, on closer examination Goodman's rationalizations for focusing on these transgressions is somewhat problematic. For example, Goodman asserts: "Why is genocide uglier than murder? The answer lies in the intent, not just the scale of the crime" (Goodman 2010: 88). The controversial implication of this statement is that a 'hate crime' is inherently worse than an equally violent crime not rooted in hate (for example, murdering someone who is an African-American for his money is inherently, morally worse than murdering someone for whom the man is as a human being). It suggests that genocides, such as committed

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