System relativism

Ratio 1 (2):163-175 (1988)
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Abstract

The fundamental thought of moral relativism is set out as follows: moral criteria, derived from overall moral points of view, are used to derive particular moral judgments. Thus such a judgment might be correct relative to one overall moral point of view and incorrect relative to another. The evaluation of an overall moral point of view does not involve the application of moral criteria. Rather, the evaluation of a morality takes us outside the province of morality. The result of sharpening this view is a doctrine called system relativism. System relativism is contrasted with other conceptions of moral relativism that have recently been propounded. It is argued that system relativism is the most defensible version.

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Charles Sayward
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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