In the essay
written by Paul Boghossian “The Maze of Moral Relativism” it becomes apparent
that relativism plays a primary role in society. Boghossian also makes it well
known to the reader his thoughts on moral relativism by claiming it is an
incoherent view. Later Boghossian plays with the idea and counterargument of
why moral relativism might be coherent. Throughout the essay Boghossian tourally explains
that if you deny moral absolutism (explained as an action being wrong, no matter what. An
example being killing unless used for self-defense or the military), it is
opposed to moral relativism (explained as being right or wrong measured by basic
norms that are based on their culture), but rather to moral nihilism (explained as how things should
be, not how they really are).
As Boghossian was
developing his argument for his claim on moral relativism being incoherent he
outlines two examples. The first example being when people realized that witches
were make believe and fake. When this was brought to the people’s attention
they didn’t suddenly become moral relativists about witches, rather, they just stopped
talking about witches all at once eliminating all ideas that they may exist. Today,
we only bring up witches as a word to describe someone, discussing previous
events such as what took place in Salem, and using it to play around on
Halloween. The second example is the one of Einstein that was taught in Special
Theory of Relativity. In this publication Einstein stated that there is no such
thing as absolute simultaneity of two events. Einstein then went on to suggest
people should become relativists to simultaneity while also accepting that there is simultaneity relative,
but not simultaneity as so. You may be wondering, just like Boghossian,
what is the difference between these two examples and how do the two examples correlate
when one leads to eliminating relativism and the other leads to relativism.
Boghossian answers this by showing readers the world does not have simultaneity,
yet it does have a relativistic cousin and this cousin is simultaneity relative
to a frame of references. This is similar to the role of classical simultaneity
with the theory of the world. However, in the witch example once we realized that
witches are make believe there is not a relativistic cousin involved.
there are no absolute facts about morality in regard to what is write and what
is wrong because if there was then it would be with the example of the witches.
Boghossian also claims and explains that it is polite to slurp your soup when you’re
eating in China as it is a compliment to the chef and host. However, the opposite
is Buckingham palace. If you were to slurp your soup in Buckingham palace it
would be extremely rude. These cultural examples show that there are moral norm
specified with your culture like in some places its rude to address someone by
their first name and its insulting in some cultures. There are different circumstances
for every situation, but it comes down to moral absolutism not including
etiquette and cultural differences.
Boghossian makes it well known throughout “The Maze of Moral Relativism” on his
thought to the reader towards moral relativism by claiming it is an incoherent
view. It is never simple finding the right answers to a moral question.
Bohossian states it is to emphasize that there seems to be no better
alternative or no better answer to a difficult moral question that were unsure
about what the for sure right answer is.