Absolutism v relativism

A table – Absolutism v Relativism

Ethical Absolutism

Ethical Relativism

(1) The absolutist says there is a universal moral standard (1) The relativist denies that there is a universal moral standard.
(2) The absolutist says there are two senses to the word “standard”:

  • what is done (the descriptive sense) and
  • what ought to be done (the prescriptive sense).
(2) The relativist usually believes there is just the descriptive sense of “standard,” and this sense of the word changes according to the place or time.
(3) If the relativist admits that there are two senses to the word, then the relativist believes there is no instance of the universal moral code about what ought to be done.
(4) The absolutist makes a distinction between what is thought right and what is actually right. (4) The relativist believes there is no difference between what is thought right and what is actually right.

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