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Ethical relativism.docx

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McMaster University
V Igneski

Ethical relativism  A convention exists when people adhere to a certain principle so that others will also adhere to it o E.g. money, property Hume on conventions  A conventions is “a sense of common interest; which sense each man fells in his own breast, which he remarks in his fellows, and which carries him, in concurrence with others into a general plan or system of actions, which tends to public utility (Enquiry concerning human understanding, 257) 4 elements of conventions  1. Contributes to mutual benefit  2. Need not result from explicit agreement  3. Each believes others obey  4. Given belief, each has reason to obey In state of nature  No moral conventions  No right and wrong  Out of self-interest, we develop conventions to manage conflicts and live with each other o We bargain and compromise o Actual not hypothetical agreement Hume’s tacit convention theory of morality  Most of morality a result of convention o Moral duties and obligations depend on conventions o Sympathy leads us to approve disapprove apart from convention (e.g. kindness in state of nature)  Initially motivated by self-interest  Habit develops and obligations seem natural Reasons for/against acting  Conventional rules are reasons for/against acting a certain way o Judge persons in our group if they viola
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