Relativism, Absolutism & Pluralism

Assignment: These questions are based on the material from chapter two of the Ethics text by Hinman.(Name of textbook listed below) They concern the evaluation of the proper metaethical approach to normative theory, i.e., the fundamental question of how to approach normative (or prescriptive) theories.

1.Should ethics employ relativism, absolutism, or pluralism?

2.Why do we study theories of ethics?  What does a theoretical understanding of ethics do for us?

3.What is the difference between descriptive ethical relativism and normative ethical relativism?

4.How may the doctrine of ethical relativism be understood, i.e., what are the different facets or dimensions of ethical relativism?

  1. Explain the various criticisms of ethical relativism?
  2. Info for this question in chapter 1 of textbook: The Moral Point Of View (class slides in attachments)Explain the basic intuitions of the moral life presented in class and in the text? How does    each intuition relate to the principles of ethical pluralism?  With this in mind, how may it be argued that pluralism surpasses both relativism and absolutism? Nonetheless, what remaining challenge(s) does pluralism face?

Textbook: Hinman, Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory, 5th edition

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