Let me rephrase — the dependency thesis asserts that moral obligation of any kind is grounded in the particular beliefs that I or we happen to hold. Conventionalism seems perilously close to ethical nihilism. Alas, truth may not always be edifying. Notes History of Herodotus; trans. We are yet not finished with our critique of conventional ethical relativism. For example, people from a myriad of language groups come to the United States and learn English and communicate perfectly well.

Isn’t it clear that even within a given culture there are a diversity of moral perspectives? If two or three people decide to make cheating on exams morally acceptable for themselves, via forming a fraternity, Cheaters Anonymous, at their university, then cheating becomes moral. The tribe differs with us only in belief, not in substantive moral principle. Of course, if my partner dies, I could still claim that I was acting from an originally social set of norms. Different cultures have different moral commitments.

All moral principles derive their validity from cultural acceptance. Their experiences and commitments overlap deeply, and yet we find disagreement, argument, dissention. The Dependency Thesis is the more important of the two doctrines. First — social diversity.

pojman dependency thesis

Cultural diversity in itself is neutral with respect to theories. The depsndency difference between pro-choicers and pro-lifers is not whether we should kill persons but whether fetuses are really persons. I can assure you that there is not.

pojman dependency thesis

Now, none of this, absolutely none of this, should lead one to think that ethical relativism is true. Quine,13 holds that languages are often so fundamentally different from each other that we cannot accurately translate concepts from one to another. Morality does not occur in a vacuum, but rather what a society considers morally right or wrong must be seen in a context, depending on the goals, wants, beliefs, history, and environment of that society.


Common Elements

Ethics, Euthanasia and Canadian Law. We can reason and perform thought experiments in order to make a case for one system over another. Alan Keyes, a candidate for president in the most recent election, is one of the most conservative public intellectuals in thesie nation. Subjectivism is all about the individual, like it is everyone for themselves. We are yet not finished with our critique of conventional ethical relativism.

Subjectivism seems to boil down to anarchistic individualism, an essential denial of the interpersonal feature of the moral point of view; and conventionalism, which does contain an interpersonal perspective, fails to deal adequately with the problem of the reformer, the question of defining a delendency, and the whole enterprise of moral criticism.

Nevertheless, unless moral objectivism can make a positive case for its position, relativism may survive these criticisms. If Mary has an abortion, she is choosing to belong to the general society relative to that principle. Now that is diversity! How about African Americans?

pojman dependency thesis

Nevertheless, the relativists still have at least one more arrow in their quiver — the argument from the indeterminacy of translation.


The belief ground of my obligation is simply my belief.

There are two versions of this thesis. Pojman outlines ethical relativism and then discusses moral objectivism as the correct idea. It de;endency not need to be argued for — only described. We distinguished a weak and a strong thesis of dependency.

Louis Pojman Short Summary Essay

The belief ground of my obligation is simply my belief. I can assure dependeency that there is not. Let’s look a bit closer at this thesis, for it is really the more important of the two. What is considered morally right and wrong varies from society to society, so there are no moral principles that all societies accept.

Let’s narrow down the cultural group — Catholic moral theologians. One might think that here, if anywhere, you’d find a great deal of unanimity [I’ve never been able to say that out loud! Why should anyone give such august authority to a culture of society? Ruth Benedict indicates the depth of our cultural conditioning this way: How about receiving a customized one?

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