The, Relativism, And Relativism

1861 Words May 24th, 2016 8 Pages
When Moral Worlds Collide:
Objectivism & Relativism in Intergroup Conflict

It is not only that moral principles are of limited use in the conduct of foreign affairs. It is also that the compulsion to see foreign policy in moral terms may have, with the noblest intentions, the most ghastly of consequences. – Arthur Schlesinger, “The Necessity of Amorality in Foreign Affairs,” 1971

1.0 Introduction
Shared moral values reliably facilitate cooperation within groups (Atran & Ginges, 2012; Cohen et al., 2006; Tomasello & Vaish, 2013). When everyone agrees on the same standards for how they ought to treat one another, disputants can at least appeal to the same overarching principles to arbitrate their dispute. Yet when conflicts arise between groups with different moral standards, it is much less clear whether strong moral convictions facilitate effective conflict resolution. On the one hand, we might expect societies with divergent moral values but strong moral convictions to effectively resolve disputes with one another, since they might be more trustworthy, compassionate, and concerned with the welfare of others than those with weaker moral convictions. On the other hand, people with strong moral convictions may be less willing than their selfish counterparts to make the concessions necessary to achieve the best outcomes. An unwavering commitment to absolute duties or sacred values may instead lead some compromises to be unacceptable and thus hinder negotiation. After all,…
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