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Encyclopedia > Moral absolutism

Moral absolutism is the belief that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, devoid of the context of the act. "Absolutism" is often philosophically contrasted with moral relativism, which is a belief that moral truths are relative to social, cultural, historical or personal references, and to situational ethics, which holds that the morality of an act depends on the context of the act. Absolute truth can be interpreted in different ways based on its usage, just like truth. ... Ethics is the branch of axiology – one of the four major branches of philosophy, alongside metaphysics, epistemology, and logic – which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to define that which is right from that which is wrong. ... A judgment or judgement, in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following legal proceedings. ... This article attempts to confine itself to discussion of relativism in morality and ethics. ... Human relationships within an ethnically diverse society. ... The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning to cultivate, generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ... For other senses of this word, see history (disambiguation). ... A person is defined by philosophers as a being who is in possession of a range of psychological capacities that are regarded as both necessary and sufficient to fulfill the requirements of personhood. ... Situational ethics (also known as Situationism) refers to a particular view of ethics,faggot that states: (J. Fletcher, Situation Ethics (Westminster, Philadelphia, 1966). ...


According to moral absolutists, morals are inherent in the laws of the universe, the nature of humanity, the will of God, or some other fundamental source. Moral absolutists regard actions as inherently moral or immoral. Moral absolutists might, for example, judge slavery, war, dictatorship, the death penalty, or childhood abuse to be absolutely and inarguably immoral regardless of the beliefs and goals of a culture that engages in these practices. A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... A physical law or a law of nature is a scientific generalization based on empirical observations. ... Human nature is the fundamental nature and substance of humans, as well as the range of human behavior that is believed to be invariant over long periods of time and across very different cultural contexts. ... God is the deity believed by monotheists to be the supreme reality. ... A fundamental is something that cannot be built out of more basic things, which other things are built upon. ... Morality deals with that which is regarded as right or wrong. ... Morality is a complex of principles based on cultural, religious, and philosophical concepts and beliefs, by which an individual determines whether his or her actions are right or wrong. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The United States detonated an atomic bomb over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. ... Dictatorship, in contemporary usage, refers to absolute rule by leadership unrestricted by law, constitutions, or other social and political factors within the state. ... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the State as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offenses. ... Child abuse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


In a minority of cases, moral absolutism is taken to the more constrained position that actions are moral or immoral regardless of the circumstances in which they occur. Lying, for instance, would always be immoral, even if done to promote some other good (e.g., saving a life). This rare view of moral absolutism might be contrasted with moral consequentialism—the view that the morality of an action depends on the context or consequences of that action. Consequentialism refers to those moral theories that hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgement about that action. ...


Modern human rights theory is a form of moral absolutism, usually based on the nature of humanity and the essence of human nature. One such theory was constructed by John Rawls in his A Theory of Justice. Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... A Theory of Justice is a book of political and moral philosophy by John Rawls. ...

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Moral absolutism and religion

Many religions have morally absolutist positions, regarding their system of morality as having been set by a deity or deities, except, of course, when the acts are done by the deities. They therefore regard such a moral system as absolute, (usually) perfect, and unchangeable. Many philosophies also take a morally absolutist stance, arguing that the laws of morality are inherent in the nature of human beings, the nature of life in general, or the universe itself. For example, someone who believes absolutely in nonviolence considers it wrong to use violence even in self-defense. For another example, under some religious moral absolutist beliefs, homosexual behavior is considered fundamentally wrong, even in a committed monogamous relationship. Many who make such claims often disregard evolving norms within their own communities. For example, today almost no religious group endorses slavery, whereas in the past many communities held it to be perfectly ethical. The historical character of religious belief provides strong grounds for criticism of religious moral absolutism. Nonviolence (or non-violence) is a set of assumptions about morality conflict that leads its proponents to reject the use of violence in efforts to attain social or political goals. ...


Humanity has wrestled with questions of moral absolutism in religion for thousands of years. The notion of the dangers of judging good from evil is central in the story of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the book of Genesis from the Pentateuch. In the Hebrew Bibles Book of Genesis, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Hebrew: עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע) was the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden from which God forbade Adam and Eve to eat. ... Genesis (Greek: Γένεσις, having the meanings of birth, creation, cause, beginning, source and origin) is the first book of the Torah, the first book of the Tanakh and also the first book of the Christian Old Testament. ... Look up Pentateuch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Graded absolutism

Many Christians regard Christian theology as teaching a hierarchy of moral absolutes[1] — a view called graded absolutism.[2] Here, if there is a conflict between two absolutes, the duty to obey the higher one exempts one from the duty to the lower one. And the order is duty to God > duty to fellow humans > duty to property. The Greatest commandment is the cornerstone of this moral system. Under this system, Corrie ten Boom was morally justified to lie to Nazis about the Jews her family was hiding, because protecting lives is a higher moral value than telling the truth to murderers. Norman Geisler defends this view in his book Christian Ethics (Baker Book House, 1981).[3] The Great Commandment is found in the Bible in Matthew chapter 22 verses 37-40. ... Cornelia (Corrie) ten Boom (April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983) was a Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, she was the youngest of three sisters and one brother. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dr. Norman L. Geisler is a scholar, contributor to the field of Christian apologetics, and the author or coauthor of some sixty books defending the Christian faith. ...


Moral absolutism and free will

Semi-religious arguments for moral absolutism have to do with the relationship between free will, choice, and morals. Some have argued that without free will, the universe is deterministic and therefore morally uninteresting (i.e., if all moral choices and moral behavior are determined by outside forces, there can be no need for any person to ponder morality), though this would depend on whether free choice is required for an action to be 'moral'. If free will exists, it stands to reason that the universe allows moral behavior. From this, some believe this feature is integral to the universe's reason for being. A softer, more theological, line of reasoning is that God may 'need' to permit us to have choices, but leaves the concerns of those choices (and their consequences) up to the people making them. In this case, moral absolutism is a subjective decision (i.e., free will must, by definition, include the freedom to choose what is moral). Free will is the philosophical doctrine that holds that our choices are ultimately up to ourselves. ...


These views are generally not accepted by those who deny free will. Some, in fact, deny free will and still accept moral absolutism—and argue that these two beliefs are inextricably tied.


A primary criticism of moral absolutism regards how we come to know what the "absolute" morals are. The authorities that are quoted as sources of absolute morality are all subject to human interpretation, and multiple views abound on them. For morals to be truly absolute, they would have to have a universally unquestioned source, interpretation and authority. Therefore, so critics say, there is no conceivable source of such morals, and none can be called "absolute". So even if there are absolute morals, there will never be universal agreement on just what those morals are, making them by definition unknowable.


The philosopher Immanuel Kant was a promoter of moral absolutism. In the Objectivism of Ayn Rand, absolutism is a subset of "moral objectivism." The philosopher Plato and his student, Aristotle, also believed in universalism, opposing the moral relativism of the Sophists. Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804), was a German philosopher from Königsberg in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... It has been suggested that The Ayn Rand Collective be merged into this article or section. ... Moral objectivism is the position that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Aristotle (Ancient Greek: , Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... This article attempts to confine itself to discussion of relativism in morality and ethics. ... Sophism was originally a term for the techniques taught by a highly respected group of philosophy and rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece. ...


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