Absolutist approach

Number of Individuals with Internet Access: Press freedom was a crucial factor in the formation of the American republic, and strict protections for the press were added to the United States Constitution just two years after it was ratified. European travelers observed the appetite for newspapers among ordinary American citizens and thought it a distinctive characteristic of the early Republic. Notably, Alexis de Tocqueville devoted large sections of his Democracy in America to his amazement at the amount of information from newspapers available to a common rural farmer.

Absolutist approach

Quick revise Absolutism Absolutism is making normative ethical decisions based on objective rules.

Absolutism | Definition, History, & Examples | attheheels.com

It maintains that some things are always right and some things are always wrong. They are fixed for all time, places and people. A common example of Absolutism is Kantian Ethics. Advantages of Absolutism It allows moral rules to be evaluated critically.

It is fair as people are treated the same as the rules are the same for everyone. If a moral rule is right, then there would be no need to have different rules for different people because the absolute rules are universal.

Absolutist approach

Disadvantages of Absolutism Sometimes it is not appropriate to treat people the same due to circumstances that arise due to situations. Life is not simply 'black and white' and as this is the case, it is simply not right to Absolutist approach everyone live by the same rules.

Relativism Relativism says that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong. Some believe that all human circumstances are different and therefore there is Absolutist approach need to have different moral rules for people.

Cultural Relativism says that different countries - or even areas within a country - have different values, for example, Muslims expect women to cover up at least some of their bodies. It affirms the idea 'when in Rome do as the Romans do'.

It allows there to be variety in different cultures.


However, as there are no overriding standard to compare cultures to, noone can say that one culture is better than another because of what they believe - this could be either an advantage or a disadvantage. Moral truths are no more than subjective feelings about behaviour which can therefore never achieve the status of fact as they are the result of ways of life and opinions which vary from culture to culture or person to person depending on circumstances.

Historical Relativism This says that what was right one hundred years ago may not be right in the present day because times and society have moved on. Society also accepts the need to change sets of rules which used to be sufficient in previous times.

Advantages of Relativism It allows for the diversity that is present in the world.

Absolutist approach

It understands that life is not black and white. Cultures may believe that their practices are more justifiable than other cultural practices, but by using a relativist approach, this will allow for acceptance between different peoples. For example, the Nazis believed that they were right to kill millions of Jews, homosexuals and disabled people: Cultural Relativists would not be able to criticise the Nazis as they believe that all cultures have views of equal worth.

For example if a culture allows wife-beating, then cultural relativism would also have to say that wife-beating is morally acceptable. It may be more difficult to decide when the rules need changing in different circumstances.

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Absolutism versus Relativism Ethical Absolutists can condemn practices such as the Nazi persecution of the Jews because Absolutist views give definite guidelines as to what is right and wrong. Relativism can take into account the reasons why something happens. Absolutists would have to condemn a mother who steals food for her starving children because in their eyes all stealing is wrong, whereas Relativists can say stealing is wrong usually but as the mother needed to feed her children, what she did was right and should therefore not be condemned.

Absolutists can appear to be intolerant to views of others, for example, if they are against cruelty of animals, they would be against the Islamic practice of sacrificing lambs, but Relativists would be able to see the religious significance and the importance of that practice to the Islamic community and will therefore not condemn it.

Create a revision timetable to organise your study time.Moral absolutism is not the same as moral universalism. Universalism holds merely that what is right or wrong is independent of custom or opinion (as opposed to moral relativism), but not necessarily that what is right or wrong is independent of context or consequences (as in absolutism).

The word deontology derives from the Greek words for duty (deon) and science (or study) of (logos).In contemporary moral philosophy, deontology is one of those kinds of normative theories regarding which choices are morally required, forbidden, or permitted.

One reason to support the absolutist approach as the only defensible approach is that it provides justification for acting which means that morality seems to demand some sort of obligation.

If there’s a fixed moral code then there is no obligation to act in a way. Spiral Dynamics is a psychological approach that offers insights into people's worldviews, and how these shape values and drive behaviour.

If social workers' understanding of professional values and ethical behavior has matured in recent years as Dr. Reamer believes, he and a few other social work ethicists are responsible. One reason to support the absolutist approach as the only defensible approach is that it provides justification for acting which means that morality seems to demand some sort of obligation.

If there’s a fixed moral code then there is no obligation to act in a way.

Absolute monarchy - Wikipedia