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What is ethical relativism?

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Quick Answer

Ethical relativism is the view that there is no objective right or wrong. Instead, judgements are made differently by each individual, depending on several contributing factors.

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Ethical relativism simply means that different people may believe different truths. Even given a situation in which the same facts are presented to two individuals, each may make a subjective judgement that differs from the other based on his beliefs.

There are slight variations of relativism. Descriptive moral relativism is merely the acknowledgement that differences in the semantics of what is good, bad or truthful exist. It resists the position that any of these determinations are more or less valid than any other. Meta-ethical relativism is the belief that terms like "good," "right," "wrong" or "bad" are not universal truths and are strongly dependent on tradition, culture, religion and the views of an individual or group. Lastly, normative ethical relativism is the belief that differences exist, and every person should tolerate those differences, even when they are contradictory to one another.

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