Relativism, Socrates & Plato, Aristotle's Virtue Ethics, Aristotle II

 Relativism, Socrates & Plato, Aristotle
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HUP 104 Exam 1 (Ethics and Moral Issues) 1.) Explain the distinction between descriptive ethics, normative ethics, and metaethics. Illustrate these distinctions by discussing the difference between relativism at the normative and metaethical level (be sure to discuss the role that tolerance plays).


While the former deals only on the “what is”, the latter is concerned about “what ought to be”. As such, descriptive ethics looks into the morality of a person in particular or an entire society in general based on the actual conduct and behavior of the people under observation while normative ethics insist that human conduct and behavior must be measured against a universal set of prescribed moral norms which civilizations must follow and comply with. The third level of ethics is metaethics which is a study of the meaning behind ethical language and theories. It not only analyses and compares different moral standards; it also examines the significance and purpose of the ideas and concepts of ethics itself (Lutz 8). Moreover, these ethical theories may be differentiated from one another by looking into how they adopt the theory of relativism. On the one hand, normative ethics acknowledges that certain situations do arise which necessitate deviation from the prescribed norms and thus require some degree of tolerance. On a case-to-case basis, a specific action is determined whether it is right or wrong by taking into consideration the specific circumstances which caused the deviation or non-compliance with the universal moral norms. ...
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