Nov 10, 2017 in Ethics

Defying Subjective Relativism

Subjective relativism is the idea and position that held that an action can be morally right when it is approved by someone. This approval is the basis under which the action can be said to be right. This philosophy together with cultural relativism contrasts largely to moral objectivism, with the perception that a number of moral principles still hold for all people. Subjective relativism takes each individual to be morally perfect and states that people cannot have a legitimate moral disagreement (Newton par. 1-10). However, subjective relativism has various troubling implications and, is therefore, a big challenge to human ethics.

Subjective relativism is a common approach that is applied in ethics in the United States, but it is indeed a superficial strategy (Krausz 23-47). As it stands, subjective relativism contravenes the moral law and makes the issue of ethics a hard subject. There are errors that are undeniably linked to this proposition concerning ethics. According to relativism in general, there is no unchanging or absolute moral principles. The assertion further states that the rules governing a given situation can only be determined through the way in which they relate to other things like the culture and customs of the nation or may be the desires of those taking part in that given situation.

Subjective relativism holds on to the notion that authority and knowledge is in the view of the person. What this simply means is that every individual is his personal authority on moral issues and also the source of what they consider to be morally right. The stand which is taken in subjective relativism does not support a peaceful co-existence in the society in which one lives. A society is guided by principles, cultures, norms, and customs that are intended to promote harmonious existence. However, a situation in which everyone does what they think is right destroys the order that is needed in building a strong society. People are reduced to savages. For subjective relativism, there is no need to study about ethics, while it is the fabric that holds the society together.

There is obviously a big mistake when subjective relativism is allowed to bring confusion between constitutional provisions and moral rightness. There can never be a reasonable connection between the right which somebody has to do something and the right action to take. Based on this philosophy, there will always be a psychological urge to hop from one thing to another.  Again, there is no link between having the right to think whatever one wants to and the suggestion that all that one likes thinking about is right. What subjective relativism does is making people contradict themselves first before they can finally settle on the truth. It is, therefore, of no importance to hold onto the issue of relativism. Giving people the right to think the way they want does not make what is accepted as morally right/wrong (Krausz 23-47).   Therefore, telling others that they cannot be corrected in their opinions seems to indicate that such perceptions are right. With this kind of predisposition, the efforts of learning ethics for the welfare of the society are completely frustrated.  

A society that fully uses the ideas and propositions of subjective relativism can ideally have catastrophic tendencies. It may be seen as a source of disorder and disharmony and may take the society away from normalcy. The philosophy by itself does not contradict itself in its position. It makes a very good sense to posit the person as having moral authority in his individual case in all circumstances (Newton par. 1-10). All the same, it can be self-annihilating. It can never be possible to defend subjective relativism without first ceasing to take a relativist position, because it needs a defender to make an argument which is based on absolute values of such things as freedom and democracy. Therefore, while subjective relativism has given individuals the authority to defend their actions and prove them right, it has a detrimental effect in striking a balance and promoting peaceful co-existence and harmony. It has posed a big challenge to the study of ethics.

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