Is Morality Absolute: Part II Common Relativist Arguments

Two common arguments arose from the relativist responses:

  1. Society constructs my morality.
  2. I construct my morality.

The “Society constructs my morality” argument was supported by the following statements.

“Morality is a social construct based on the needs of society for its’ own existence.”

“I think morality is a social construct enforced by the communities we live in. I don’t steal. I’m an atheist. You don’t steal. You’re religious. We come from different upbringings and philosophies but follow a similar tenant; stealing is bad: for the atheist, time in prison, for the religious person, time in prison and a trip to hell. Both don’t steal because society tells them there are consequences to their actions. Morality is thusly consequentially based. Regardless of religious or irreligious beliefs, we abide by the morality meter set out by the societies we live in.”

“This is a really great question! I feel as though the idea of there being “One True Morality” is fundamentally at odds with the vast amount of moral diversity we see around the world. For example, there is widespread disagreement over whether the state should be able to execute criminals, whether terminally ill people have a right to die, and abortion. To me, morality is the set of rules we live by that seek to reduce harm and help us live together effectively.”

The “I construct my morality” argument was supported by the following statements.

“If it were absolute and everyone had the same moral compass wherever that may point, we would lose our free will.”

“Ohhhh this is such an interesting question! I’m an anthropologist and (mostly) believe in constructivism which means every person constructs their own reality so in a sense there could be multiple different types of morality. For ex. cultural views of eating animals that some cultures keep as pets. But… that being said there could be a single global morality as well since it generally is thought that there are some things that are immoral.”

“Morality is determined on a personal basis; it comes from culture, upbringing, genetics, community, location, and intentions.”

“I think it’s completely subjective. As a society we have agreed on some basics like murder isn’t ok……but people are still out there murdering others and justifying it in their minds based on their morals. I think each individual decides it for themselves and society decides some…..but overall I’d say the individual decides.”

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