Relative ethics is where decisions are made with the circumstances in mind. For instance the culture and traditions of the place, the individuals, and society. Examples of relative ethics is utilitarianism and situation ethics. Relative ethics can be seen to be a fair approach to decision making because it is tolerant of different values, it is more realistic that nothing is right or wrong, it is more open to atheists, and is considers emotions as important.

However it is more complex and makes decisions harder, it can be used as an excuse to act in an immoral way, it implies that we should not have laws and it does not protect worldwide human rights. Relative ethics is tolerant of different cultures. For example just because in one place it is considered wrong for women to have an education in one country e. g. Islamic countries, it doesn’t mean that in the UK women should not have an education. The UK is not morally superior and should not try to implement its own morals on any other country.

This may seem fair in one way but it actually means that any act can be acceptable and doesn’t protect our human rights, sexism is wrong and women should never be discriminated against no matter their religion. Some laws need to be absolute. Someone in a different country may claim that for example kidnap and torture are part of their culture, but we know this is wrong. Relative ethics can be seen as fair because in it there are no absolute objective rights or wrongs. The right thing to do depends on the situation. For example, if a woman stole food out of greed then it would be wrong.

However if she stole food to feed her starving children then this is right. It is fairer than absolute ethics because an absolutist would say that the woman shouldn’t steal even if he children are dying of starvation. Obviously, this is wrong and so the relativist view if a fairer approach to decision making The idea that there are no objective rights or wrongs can make relative decision making a slow process. In Utilitarianism, the consequences of each option have to be predicted and consequences. When each individual situation has to be considered, it can cause complications and ensuring every person gets a good result is difficult.

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Some may argue that the time it takes to make a decision about the morality of an act is causes those involved more suffering and is unjust. In conclusion I think that relative ethics is the best approach to making fair ethical decisions. However, I believe that some actions are wrong no matter the culture or time or individual. For example, discrimination is always wrong and torture of innocents and kidnapping is wrong. Despite this, relative ethics is tolerant of all cultures and does not believe that in any situations that one persons or country’s morals are superior to anothers.


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