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Relativism: Goodman's theory - Essay Example

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Relativism: Goodman's theory

Goodman’s disagreement on Matilal’s idea of pluralism that human norms differ from one society to another, one culture to another was also well founded. While in many aspect true, right and wrong is not just about common consent but unanimity. For what is agreed by many may not necessarily mean right. In addition, Matilal’s assertions have political colors considering that he is subconsciously seeking for approval and legitimacy of some of India norms which may be despicable in other cultures. Matilal’s four rubric of morality, namely, respect for life, deference to truth, abhorrence of theft, and rejection of adultery although laudable, is not enough and cannot stand against the test of universality. Such, Goodman puts forth the four areas which human experience, regardless of time, culture, understanding, religion or circumstance will always be wrong and cannot be justified by relativity. We already know them but Goodman, put coherence and logic why these acts are not to be done in the first place. They are; (1) genocide, politically induced famine, and germ warfare; (2) terrorism, hostage taking, and child warriors; (3) slavery, polygamy, and incest; and (4) rape and female genital cutting. We already know that murder is wrong much more when it is done on mass scale with genocide. Goodman succinctly put the argument that we already know but cannot articulate that “all living beings make claims to life”. It is so sacred that even states who have jurisdiction over individuals and institutions are ceasing to impose death as a capital punishment in deference to life. Murder on mass scale is not only horrific by its numbers but also by the intent on why it was done. It is prejudice, discrimination, hatred that had been assigned a character and is projected to certain group of people to make it as an enemy and justify atrocity. It is not even limited to a tyrant’s prejudice, but can also be glossed over with good intention such as Maoist Cultural Revolution where “he was ready, he bragged in 1958, to sacrifice 300 million, half of China’s population, “for the victory of world revolution.” Goodman also hit the head of the nail to bury the very reason why terrorism is utterly wrong. His reasoning stood above the excuse of justifying terror that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. The excuse of subjectivity, that one group may disagree while another may find it laudable was dwarfed with Goodman’s exposure and giving terror a face why it is just wrong. It willfully targets non-combatants who intend to intimidate and attract attention at the cost of many lives that ended, dreams that were shattered, and obligations were left unfulfilled. Its obscenity and flagrancy as an act was exposed when Goodman rightfully conveyed that in terrorism, “the more helpless the victims, the more lurid the light. . . The more devastating the damage, the more inhumane, the more avidly is it sought by the strategists, ideologues, and theologians of terror”. The vileness of intention which was unmasked by Goodman just stripped terrorism any of its political justification that made it acceptable to some sectors in society. The excuse of addressing terrors “root cause” also became moot as Goodman explained that soft pedaling the act of sowing fear make them pushes the ...Show more


Name Class Professor Date Lenn Goodman argues that there are certain things that are simply wrong. Do you think Goodman is right? It is quite refreshing that a treatise is made available that pushes forth the idea that not all things are relative. In an age of subjectivity and relativism where values and concepts of right and wrong are dependent on one’s interpretation, arguing otherwise is just brave…
Author : candicebrown
Relativism: Goodmans theory essay example
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