Conventional Ethical Relativism

             The Theory of Conventional Ethical Relativism as described by Louis P.Pojman in his book “Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong” holds that there are no objective moral absolutes. Instead Conventional Ethical Relativism recognizes the cultural and social nature of morality. Morality is relative to the norms of a particular culture. Therefore, an action is considered morally right or wrong depending on the moral norms of the society in which its is practiced. Consequently, the theory holds that moral principles are justified by the virtue of their social acceptance. A specific action may be judged morally wrong in one society while at the same time judged morally right by another society. Therefore, for an individual to act morally right or wrong depends “on or is relative to the society to which he belongs” (Pojman/Ladd, Page 24). For example polygamy may be considered morally wrong by Christian societies while at the same considered morally right by some Muslim societies. From the preceding analysis it follows that morality as defined by Conventional Ethical Relativism is the product of a particular society and therefore the outcome of its distinct history. As societies and cultures change over time, moral norms change accordingly, too and therefore “there are no universal moral principles valid for all cultures and all people at all time” (Pojman 28).
             In contrast to Conventional Ethical Relativism, moral objectivism claims that there are some universal moral principles that all societies and individuals ought to accept. Consequently, individuals as well as societies can be judged according to these universal moral principles, regardless of their cultural, societal and historical context. The horrible events of the Holocaust are according to moral objectivism morally wrong and not justifiable by neither the moral norms of Nazism nor by the historical and cultural background of that time. However, objectivism claims that ...

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Conventional Ethical Relativism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:09, January 20, 2017, from