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Theories and Perspectives

Updated on September 12, 2016

Define and contrast the three ethical perspectives.

Relativism- The view that moral claims are relative to an individual or community, and do not have objective value or truth.

Emotivism- A meta-ethical view that claims ethical statements are merely expressions of one’s emotion toward a given act, not based on facts or moral realities.

Ethical Egoism- An ethical view that argues acts should be done out of a person’s self-interest.

How do the perspectives differ from the ethical theories?

The ethical perspectives differ from the ethical theories in that they do not provide enough thought or evidence to make a valid point or case. They cannot help us to decide what is right or wrong, because they are mainly based on pure theory rather than fact. Relativism is more about what our society believes is right or wrong. Emotivism is a show of one’s disapproval or attitude toward a situation and Ethical Egoism is someone doing something just to benefit themselves or to satisfy their self.

What does each ethical perspective tell us about morality and virtue?

The ethical theories give us the knowledge to know the difference between what is right and what is totally and completely wrong.

A situation recently in my hometown that comes to mind is the shooting of our two local officers. One of which was killed in the line of duty. Everyone in our town is fussing and saying that his killer should be hung or buried beneath the jail. No one wants to allow the courts to try the case because they are afraid that he may get off. I believe the this is a show of Relativism and Emotivism on the part of my hometown. My community is showing relativism be demanding what they believe is right in this case before it is tried in the courts, but they are also showing Emotivism by allowing their emotions to lead their actions.


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