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Ethical Absolutism and Human Behavior Essay

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Updated: Sep 11th, 2020


Ever stopped and curiously asked in philosophical circles what it means to have an absolutist stance? Well, absolutism is universal. Absolutism is a standard moral theory that has been used in judging human behavior from time immemorial. It does not discriminate neither does it feature the diversity in the human species, but rather it states that right or wrong moral decisions are the same for all. Therefore, it acts like a standard by which one can use to judge human behavior as it is permanent. The origin of it could be from God or society, but it is widely viewed to emanate from God. Stance in his work here, he refutes the relativity of ethics, argues for the case that all actions can indeed not be relative. If it is, then how would human beings be able to measure moral progress, or judge since there would be no constant benchmark upon which they could do so? This essay seeks to highlight Stance’s argument that absolutism has and still is the backbone that provides the standard used to measure human behavior (Gould and Mulvaney 93).

Ethical Absolutism

The supporters of the status quo have a view that in terms of morality, there is one rule that is applicable to everyone regardless of his or her location or socio-cultural differences. Laws are written influenced by various factors that affect society’s morality. According to this idea, the absolutists believe that humanity is guided and ruled by different common laws that are applicable everywhere. This, they state, goes back to the ancient times when our great ancestors walked the face of the earth. An example of such an argument appeared during the times of slavery (Gould and Mulvaney 94). Those who fought against that vice of society said it was inhumane. Ethical absolutists mention that even earlier than those statements appeared, the ancient Greeks who had practiced slavery had known quite well that it was a humiliation of any human being.

Stance believes that absolutism, which finds its roots in the Judeo-Christian way of life, standardizes the way we judge human actions. He argues out against the view by the relativists, which says that there is nothing that has always and everywhere been regarded as morally good by all persons. He instead says, for example, that simply because people may disagree about the earth’s shape; don’t mean that it does not have a shape. Stance further refutes claims by the relativists that it is impossible to prove the source of the universally accepted moral code (Gould and Mulvaney 94). It further dismisses religion to something that cannot be relied upon. In countering this argument, he states that if that is the case and relativism is true, then ethics will not be an existent topic at all. The human race has experienced different civilizations from the Greek all through to the present day. In all these years, history has been able to judge civilizations based on the common moral law. By refuting the common moral law, Stance then wonders how we can we are able to judge the civilizations. In relation to the historical progression in civilization, human beings are able to measure progress based on common standards. An example can be applied in measuring a country’s progress in the 19th century as compared to now on its implementation of morally acceptable laws. This clearly shows for countries to be able to do that, there has to be a worldwide morally acceptable standard (Gould and Mulvaney 95).

Personal evaluation

In my view, I agree with Stance’s way of thinking in regard to absolutism’s capability to practically offer solutions for humans that apparently can’t be done by any other moral theory. I concur that from generation to generation, human beings have been able to have a standard ethical expectation by which if someone went against, he is labeled to be on the wrong and vice versa. How then can an argument of there being no universal standard be true? History itself is able to judge a generation from another. This I am convinced, just like Stance could not be possible. Under such an argument morality would then cease to operate (Gould and Mulvaney 100).

I am quite fascinated by absolutism; there is still something in its belief that the rights and wrongs of the society should remain the same. Their views are geared against the theories that suggest that humankind had evolved from apes and grew to Homo Sapience. As such, the people who lived before us may not have been technically advanced, but that does not make them stupid. Technology advancement is a result of necessity and constant desire to enhance our life. The proverb that says necessity is the mother of all inventions is absolutely right. Thus, the progress has been achieved due to various challenges we have faced. This means we are not better than our ancestors. Trying to find a law common to everyone is absolutely true (Gould and Mulvaney 94). We should all seek to embrace the ideas of absolutism as it is safe, stable and predictable.

Works Cited

Gould, James and Robert Mulvaney. Classic Philosophical Questions. 12th ed. New York: Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.

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