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The Problem of Relativism and Morality - Essay Example

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The Problem of Relativism and Morality

The role that religion plays in the shaping of morality can thus, not be underestimated. The fact that these religions were often the mouthpieces of certain political denominations must also be taken into account while looking at their influences. Whether religion which seeks to represent what was for a long time considered the very fountain-spring of morality- God- is biased or not makes the problem of relativism very relevant to the lives of people even today. The emergence of atheistic groups and the rise of existentialist thought in Europe also brought the focus back on relativism and morality. This paper shall seek to look at the different points of view that have been put forth regarding relativism and seek to assert that it is not possible to have a single view of morality in the modern age. Relativisms of various kinds are a part of the theories that are used to talk of morality today. Subjective relativism, a form of relativism according to which morality depends on the subjectivity of an individual places the onus of deciding whether something is good or bad according to his or her own beliefs and values. The individual, and not a divine or social force, is invested with the power to make choices regarding good and evil. This perspective gained credence with the rise of individualism that reached its height with the rise of capitalism (“Roots of Individualism in Europe”). With capitalism at its peak, it is necessary for one to understand the role of individual subjectivities. It is also important for the society as a whole to examine the role of overarching frameworks that fail to include the majority of the people in the modern world. The modernist movement that took shape in Europe had as one of its founding principles this very distrust in metanarratives that were imposed on people as a part of religion and history. The fallout of this was that conventional notions of morality were discarded. This was very different from the moralities that were a part of Victorian society which believed in a rigid framework of morality that would then be imposed as a part of social life. As a part of this, people would have to adhere to the rules that were set by the society as a precondition for being a part of that very society. Marginalization was the punishment that was meted out to anybody who dared to deviate from the path that was laid out for the citizens of a particular community. Organicity, thus, is not a part of the social fabric of modern times. The organicity that made possible the unity of earlier societies is not a feature of modern society. A single framework that defines one’s existence and the morality that is a part of that existence is thus, insufficient for an understanding of life as it was during the twentieth century and as it is in the twenty first. Franco Moretti locates the schism between organic and non-organic societies in the Augustan age when Europe came into contact with other cultures in a major way (Moretti 36). Debates about the moralities that are a part of modern times are incomplete without a discussion of the theories that were a part of organic societies-the theories that served to hold people together as a single monolithic entity. Religion was one such body of theories. The Divine Command Theory that places God at the pinnacle of all ...Show more


The problem of Morality and Relativism Your Name Student Number Course Number Due Date The problem of Morality and Relativism Morality and relativism are problems that philosophers have grappled with for a very long time now. For centuries, man has been confounded with the problem as to whether he needs a universal moral standard or not…
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