Moral relativism

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L099-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

Often the subject of heated debate, moral relativism is a cluster of doctrines concerning diversity of moral judgment across time, societies and individuals. Descriptive relativism is the doctrine that extensive diversity exists and that it concerns values and principles central to moralities. Meta-ethical relativism is the doctrine that there is no single true or most justified morality. Normative relativism is the doctrine that it is morally wrong to pass judgment on or to interfere with the moral practices of others who have adopted moralities different from one’s own. Much debate about relativism revolves around the questions of whether descriptive relativism accurately portrays moral diversity and whether actual diversity supports meta-ethical and normative relativism. Some critics also fear that relativism can slide into nihilism.

    Citing this article:
    Wong, David B.. Moral relativism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L099-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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