MoralRelativism and Moral Absolutism

MoralRelativism and Moral Absolutism

Whilemaking decisions, individuals and institutions rely on either moralrelativism or moral absolutism. According to Benedict (1934),relativism carries the idea that conduct that is regarded as uprightin a particular setting may be unacceptable in another. The school ofthought also infers that the search for absolute truth is factual toan individual. Conversely, moral absolutism focuses on the right andwrong conduct. The infallibility determines the appropriateness of anaction. From this stance, behavior is either acceptable orintolerable regardless of one’s belief. For example, theisticteachings are perceived to be unchallengeable. The two definitestances cannot be auspicious for the American society. The decisionsmade by the different institutions should incline to a predilectionthat falls between relativism and abolitionism since not alldecisions carry the same weight.

Inthe United States, a plenary stance is likely to result in favor ofthe native ideas while encouraging prejudice on others that aredivergent with the principle codes (Irvine, 2000). For example, ifthe Constitution is amended to prohibit arranged marriages on thebasis of contravening the freedom of choice, it would not be morallybetter than accepting spontaneous marriages that only last a few daysbefore the divorce. According to Irvine (2000), an unchallenged lawcan result in conflicts with other liberties enjoyed both inherentlyand as provided by the constitution.

Onthe other hand, the society cannot rely on moral relativism as theunlimited approach in decision-making. According to Bentley et al.(2015), while it is prudent to accommodate the views and behaviors ofother people, some activities perpetrated by a given group may not beacceptable. For example, relativism may involve accommodating areligious sect that oppresses its members because those who professit believe it is right. However, such practices cannot be admissiblein the American society. The adjudicating institutions cannot,therefore, assent any behavior just because a section of the societyperceives it to be requisite.

Theexamples exhibit that none of the two methods hold the key toeffective decision-making for the Americans. Moral absolutism shouldbe applied in gross issues that relativism in less imperativesituations. Some practices are internationally agreed to beviolations of human rights and therefore, unacceptable in anycommunity (Bentley et al., 2015). For example, slavery cannot beadmissible in any community. Other social practices like gaymarriages should be determined comparatively depending on theorientation of a given group in the community.

Themiddle ground is also consistent with the current legal environment.According to Irvine (2000), the constitution provides variousregulations that guide moral stances. For example, it is a graveoffense to take the life of another citizen regardless of one’scultural orientation. It also gives people the right to exercisetheir freedoms but indirectly limits the extent to which individualscan enjoy the liberties. The Constitution, therefore, does notentirely incline to any of the hard stances.

Inconclusion, while the society can establish laws that respect therights of different people to carry out their functions, it cannot bewithout limits to protect other individuals. Moral absolutism maydeny people some liberties while moral relativism can encourageanarchy. A dynamic society, such as the United States, cannot pursuestability on infallible stances. A strategy that borrows from bothapproaches would be the most effective.


Benedict,R. (1934). A defense of moral relativism. TheJournal of General Psychology,10,59-82.

Bentley,T., Jones, D. S., &amp Cohen, J. (2015). 1.21. 1 A moral universe.Nihilism:Philosophy of Nothingness,10(6),88.

Irvine,W. B. (2000). Confronting relativism. AcademicQuestions,14(1),42-49.