I have to catch up with 3 weeks’ worth of teaching at University this week, as I had issues registering for my studies on the student portal. It’s also worth noting I am yet to be back on campus. I have only attended the Ethics class online, which resulted in me reflecting on how Ethics is actually structured, beyond ethical theories like Moral absolutism and relativism chosen by my Ethics professor in class to start the conversation. After class, what I did was to connect the dots between those pieces of ethical theories.
I have found that Ethics is a branch of Philosophy and it is also called Moral Philosophy. What does it look into? Basically, what is good/bad and right/wrong. In class we touched upon two of the four ethical approaches: Deontological ethics and Teleological ethics. It was interesting to chase the different ethical theories and see which fall under these two approaches and soon realized just how broad Ethics actually is, beyond what I was taught in class, and that made my neurons light up.
But back to the reason you’re reading this. Our professor asked us if we think that killing is wrong, well I don’t remember her exact wording, but it was only me and Lily who raised our hand in Teams. At ‘’prima facie’’ or first sight you think all killing is wrong which is being morally absolutist, but my professor and colleagues said to think about circumstances where you wouldn’t want to kill someone until you need to self-defense, let’s say if you were attacked jogging on the street. Or if you were employed by the Secret Service where you willingly signed a contract to take someone out for a day job.
Disapproving of killing someone is considered morally subjective(just another name to relativism) or non-objectivism. One interesting point I found on Wikipedia(Richard Joyce, 2016), was that this type of statements(killing is wrong) is showing a person’s mental attitudes, but to this we can also add our own social conditioning like the environment in which we grew up in, our parents, (The Mind Fool, 2019).
Throughout my life I have seen that killing is wrong because then legal rights are applied and that person who committed the crime goes to jail for many years, and I can imagine what the impact is on the family members on both sides for any criminal. Relativism stands that there is no absolute truth, unlike absolutism, and one is a relativist when having different views on what is moral and what isn’t according to Vocabulary. Do you find yourself to be a relativist as well, taking a look at different perspectives?
In my class, we are all from different cultures and backgrounds and even races. I have always loved seeing and hearing different views from people everywhere I go, whether it is University, online or my family members. Whilst I initially raised my hand, I have changed my mind after being shown that yes, ‘’there are perspectives you haven’t yet taken into consideration because you were never asked this question before in an Ethics class, and you never had an Ethics class before either’’. Definitely taking my colored lens off and analyzing how my social conditioning influences my decision making and reasoning. So here I go, exploring other perspectives to bring myself and Aristotle some eudaemonia. We can definitely be absolutist on other matters.
Until next blog, feel free to like, comment and share!
Anon., n.d. Ethical subjectivism. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_subjectivism#cite_note-:2-22
Anon., n.d. Relativism. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/relativism
Julianne Cantarella, 2019. How to Understand Social Conditioning & Its Effects. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from: https://themindfool.com/how-to-understand-social-conditioning/
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1998. Eudaimonia. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from: https://www.britannica.com/topic/eudaimonia