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Is a relativist or absolutist approach better in terms of ethics?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both absolutism and relativism so this would depend on the denomination of a particular religion as well as a personal viewpoint.

Some examples of advantages to relativism include:

- The rules can be broken in order to help people

- It is understood that things are not always straight forward

- it considers the circumstances surrounding a person

Some disadvantages include:

- It may be unfair and difficult to monitor how one should act when the rules would change in different circumstances

- Rules could be manipulated in order to suit one's lack of morals

- Cultural Relativism could be difficult to deal with as what is acceptable and defined as 'good' in one culture may not be the same in another

Some advantages of absolutism include:

- It is easy to follow rules as the same rule always applies regardless of the situation

- It means that people are all treated as equals as there are no exceptions

- It allows one to make a moral decision quickly

Some disadvantages of absolutism games include:

- It may be called unfair or unjust as it does not allow for one's personal circumstances to be taken into account

- It is difficult to determine what absolute morals are in the first place

- It does not allow for exceptions

Natasha B. GCSE English Language tutor, A Level English Language tuto...

10 months ago

Answered by Natasha, an A Level Philosophy and Ethics tutor with MyTutor


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