Moral Absolutism

1499 Words Nov 6th, 2012 6 Pages
Moral Absolutism a) Explain what is meant by Moral Absolutism. (25)
Moral absolutism is an ethical theory which believes that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are either right or wrong. Moral absolutists might, for example, judge slavery, war, dictatorship, the death penalty, or child abuse to be absolutely immoral regardless of the situations or beliefs of a culture that engages in these practices. Moral absolutism adopts the theory that certain actions are moral or immoral regardless of the circumstances in which they occur.
Absolutists consider that the Ten Commandments, found in the book of Exodus, are rules which should never be broken - no matter what. For example,
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7 million people died because of their decision, just as a man would die if I decided to shoot him in the head.
Louis Pojman made the point that a moral absolutist doesn’t necessarily have to believe that every single moral law is universally applicable. Instead, they could believe that one particular moral principle is non-negotiable; therefore making an ethical theory absolute. If we coincide with this, we could be absolute about one thing, like committing adultery, and relative about something else, like lying. However, contrary to Pojman’s idea, that isn’t all that absolute as we would probably end up being more relative.
The ethical theory of moral absolutism has raised many arguments since Plato produced the Theory of the Forms. Philosophers have argued over it for centuries; whether it is correct, whether we should be absolutists or relativists or whether we bypass both of these theories and decide our actions based on virtuous people.
The one thing we should be able to agree on, is that, as human beings, we should be making decisions for ourselves on how to live our own lives, not how other people should live their lives.

b) “Moral absolutism cannot be justified.” Discuss. (10)
Moral absolutism can be justified, but only partly. I think that humanity should follow a certain set of rules, like “Do not kill” and “Do not steal.” However, certain situations could arise that