A huge topic talked about the first week of class is ethical relativism. The two forms of ethical relativism consist of ethical subjectivism, also known as individual relativism, and cultural relativism, relying on people as the authors of morality. The two forms of ethical relativism differ in weather it is an individual person or society that has the final say of what is right and wrong. Given that humans are far from perfect, it is hard to use our actual selves as the measure of morality; however, we could use a different measure of morality, the ideal observer—our ideal self, both fully informed and fully rational.
In theory, the “perfect,” ideal self sounds pretty good; however, what creates this ideal self? Who determines what constitutes the ideal self?
The ideal observer approach is essentially recreating the relativist views so we essentially are still the deciding factors of what is moral and what is not. Actions do not become right just because someone—the actual or the ideal self—favors them. So, what makes an action intrinsically moral? In order for any of us to determine that something is moral, we must have good reason for doing so.
Although God says that killing someone is wrong, he doesn’t give a reason. I propose that killing is wrong, because it puts an end to someone’s life that would have otherwise either continued to be a productive member of society, or at the very least, staying alive is better than the alternative of being dead, resulting in others sadness as well. Here, we have a reason as to why the act of killing is wrong, not just my saying it’s wrong making it wrong.
All in all, acts are right or wrong because of the reasons, not because any particular group or person decided so, just because. An act is going to continue being right or wrong, regardless of anyone’s opinions or beliefs about the act being right or wrong. This is a huge objection to relativism, as something cannot be right just because “I said so.” No matter which way you look at it from a relativist’s point of view, what you think does not change what actually is. Does anyone have a fight for the relativist’s side?