Relativism and Social Contract Theory

Flashcard maker : Kelly Fisher
Difference between the ancient approach and the modern approach to ethics
Ancient: more general. Modern: more scientific.
What is a moral theory?
Gives an explanation of what morality is, what it is based on, and what it means to follow it.
What is moral relativism?
Says that morality is a human invention; that each person or culture creates its own morality, and that there are no universal moral standards by which to judge right and wrong. There is NOTHING beyond CULTURAL NORMS and INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCES.
Two types of moral relativism
Cultural R: Morality = whatever works for that culture. Only judged if they work.
Individual R: Create your own moral code. No one can judge.
Benedict’s argument for cultural relativism
1) Standards of behavior, including standards of normalcy, vary significantly across cultures.
2) Customs such as mannerisms, expressions of emotion, and major human drives, are far more variable than we realize given our experience of our own culture.
3) Most people are what Benedict calls plastic – shaped by culture
4) Therefore, standards of behavior/normalcy are culturally defined
What is the difference between cultural relativism and the fact of pluralism?
Pluralism: Disagreement about x exists. Therefore there is no one right answer about x.
Why is this an important difference, and how is it relevant to Benedict’s argument?
How can the idea of tolerance be a problem for relativism?
Too tolerant
What is a social contract theory? What is it based on?
Political theory -> moral theory. Save us from ourselves. Social consent.
How does Thomas Hobbes arrive at the idea of a social contract? Why do we need it?
Is only justification for Government. Protect us from ourselves.
For social contract theory, how is morality objective even though it is a human invention?
Cause everyone agrees on it.
Why be moral, for social contract theory?
In your best interest.
Difference between social contract theory and cultural relativism
T/F: Hobbes believed that we are moral because of empathy.
T/F: For Hobbes, it is the social contract that creates civilized society.
T/F: For Hobbes, if we didn’t have law, we would be able to live peacefully.
T/F: For Benedict, the concept of \”normal\” means the same thing in every society.
T/F: For Benedict, \”morality\” is a term for socially approved habits.
T/F: For Hobbes, society arises out of self-interest and fear.
T/F: For Hobbes, morality is created by creating a civilized society.

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