Ethics and Moral Relativism Quiz

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What is the branch of ethics that deals with the nature of morality and seeks to answer questions about its objectivity and origin?


What is moral realism's stance on morality?

There are mind-independent facts about ethics that are true and binding.

What does ethical relativism propose regarding moral truths?

Moral truths are culturally dependent and vary between societies.

Which philosophical concept questions whether moral claims can be objectively true or false like historical or mathematical facts?

Moral relativism

What term describes the phenomenon where different individuals or groups hold conflicting views about what is morally right or wrong?

Moral pluralism

Which position asserts that there are no universal or objective moral truths, and morality is solely based on personal or cultural beliefs?

Cultural relativism

What does normative relativism argue about judging ethical codes of other cultures?

No person or culture should judge other cultures' ethical codes as inferior.

What tends to be more profoundly observed: moral disagreements between cultures or within cultures?

Between cultures

Why do normative relativists claim that no culture can say its morality is objectively superior?

Because there is an objective standpoint to evaluate ethical codes.

Why does the text mention that different cultures will have different ethical codes?

To emphasize the limitations of relativism

What is the main concern of normative relativism regarding moral judgments between cultures?

To ensure cultural respect and avoid claims of objective superiority.

What is one difficulty with moral relativism, according to the text?

Defining what makes an ethical code valid

How does descriptive relativism contribute to the argument for moral relativity?

By showing that ethical codes vary significantly among different cultures.

What is one possible form of relativism?

Cultural subjectivism

What does the problem of moral diversity suggest about the existence of moral disagreement?

Moral disagreement is evidence against moral objectivity.

What is the purpose of a reductio ad absurdum argument, as mentioned in the text?

To show the difficult or absurd conclusions of a viewpoint

Why does metaethical relativism argue that moral truths are only relative to specific groups?

To suggest that cultural beliefs shape what is considered morally true.

Which aspect does the text point out as a challenge to moral relativism?

The existence of cultural diversity

Study Notes

Ethics and Morality

  • Ethics is a branch of philosophical value theory that explores the broad rules that define, regulate, and constrain our social lives, as well as the abstract consideration of moral evaluation.


  • Metaethics is the branch of ethics that deals with the nature of morality, asking questions such as "What is morality?", "Is morality objective?", and "What is the relationship between moral facts and the physical world?"

Realism and Anti-Realism

  • Moral realism is the position that there are mind-independent facts about ethics that are true and binding, regardless of our beliefs.
  • Moral anti-realism is the negation of this thesis, stating that there are no mind-independent facts about morality, and morality is constructed or relative to culture.

Descriptive Relativism

  • Descriptive relativism argues that moralities and ethical codes are radically different across cultures.

Metaethical Relativism

  • Metaethical relativism states that moral truths are true relative to specific groups of people, depending on their standpoint or culture.

Normative Relativism

  • Normative relativism argues that no person or culture should judge the ethical codes of other cultures as inferior, and no culture should intervene in another culture to prevent it from carrying out its ethical code.

The Problem of Moral Diversity

  • Relativism seems to offer a better explanation for the existence of moral disagreement, particularly between cultures.

Objections to Relativism

  • One difficulty with moral relativism is defining what a culture is or what counts as an appropriate body of people for morality to be relative to.
  • Another objection is that moral relativism leads to absurd conclusions, such as accepting that some things that seem wrong are morally acceptable in certain cultures.

Explore the branch of philosophical value theory that delves into the rules and moral evaluation in our social lives, including considerations of moral relativism and metaethics. Test your knowledge on principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong behavior and the nature of morality.

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