When looking through various arguments about ethics and morals I've noticed two modes of thought. There seems to be those that view morality in absolutes, for example the Consistant LIfe Ethic. This sort of thinking seems to be opposed by those that think that morality is circumstantial, take a look at some of the pro-choice arguments(i.e. rape, incest, birth defects, etc.) for example.

Should moraliity be absolute or circumstantial? Why? Is morality based on circumstance hypocritical? Why? Is morality based on absolutes hypocritical? Why?

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Other options are always welcome for discussion. :)

"Absolute" and "circumstantial" are just the two I've noticed. If there are others, I'd like to hear about them.
You've been reading too many comics :-)
I don't believe morality can be absolute in our society. That would mean it is never okay to lie, never okay to kill (even in self defense) and in the abortion example it would never be okay even if the mother's life is in danger.

I equate absolute morality with black and white thinking. Very little is all or nothing, one or the other, there are almost always "shades of grey".
I agree, morality has to evolve with the times and cope with the context, just like the law does.

Usually when laws are drafted, a great deal of effort goes into the use of carefully crafted language to dispel as much ambiguity as possible about it's scope and applicability. And look how many arguments there are about the interpretation of the law from case to case!

What chance do we have with badly drafted, badly edited and badly translated 2000 year old foreign scripture.
The interesting thing is that this of sort thinking isn't limited to religion. Take a look at the motto of the Atheist and Agnostic Prolife League or PETA's stance on medical testing for a couple of examples.

I'm sure that people that belong to these groups probably apply relative morality to other issues, and it seems some of the Atheist Pro-lifers are willing to make some exeptions. However, it's interesting to see moral decisions carried out to the conclusions that would be logical were there no other factors involved with these issues.
People like the clarity, certainty, and simplicity that come with dogma and simple rigid rules because it removes doubt and any requirement to think.

It's comfortable.

But useless when reality arrives:

Top 10 Moral Dilemmas
Good point.
Very true and yet try to tell them that and they sing "lalalala" with fingers in their ears.
I think you are trying to articulate "subjective" and "objective".

Objective: the Holocaust and the Inquisition were wrong.

Subjective: Simon Weisanthal and affirmative action can be questionable.

You are in grey water and the more you stir it the muddier it gets.

Absolute: I can cut my penis off right now with a razor.

Circumstantial: If I'm Charles Manson, or Jim Jones, or Heaven's Gate, I might get caught.

Your question in itself is circumstantial. The only absolute is self termination, using absolute methods.

Suitable postscript -

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I think that ethics and morals are a reflection of that society. I feel that there are moral absolutes, (child molestation) but by looking back into previous cultures that was perfectly normal. So would that make it absolute (I think that it should never happen) or relative because an entire culture agreed that this was acceptable behavior. Nothing is permanent, it took the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to allow all races the ability to vote. 1965....for something that if anyone today denounces they are (rightfully so) openly ridiculed with serious monetary ramifications.

From my perspective it seems that from the beginning of civilization ethics and morality are getting closer and closer to an ideal of true equality and tolerance. We have a long way to go (some cultures far more than others) but hopefully we will get there.
I think that there are some absolutes, yet most of morality is circumstantial.

If you ask most people what is the worst crime to commit, or look at which crime has the most severe punishment, killing a person would seem to be the worst thing you can do. You can do no worse, with the possible exception of being an atheist or a homosexual, than to kill somebody. Or can you?

There are plenty of reasons to kill someone. Between now and Tuesday, if one more total stranger with a clipboard interrogates me on who I'm going to vote for, I'm snapping his fucking neck! Seriously though, there are justifications for taking the life of another human being. It is unfortunate, but sometimes it is better than the alternative. Let's contrast that with rape. Is there ever a good reason to rape someone? I've started asking this question over a decade ago and I am still waiting to hear one reason to justify it. Abusing a child falls into the same category. Killing someone on the inside is far worse than killing someone on the outside. At least when your outside dies, it doesn't hurt any more.
Fat Old Sun: Killing someone on the inside is far worse than killing someone on the outside.

That is such a charged statement. A feminist favourite. Define rape ? Brutalising a child's mind with the concept of eternal torment falls into that category for me. You don't "recover" from murder.

Crimes worse than murder ? Shilling, telemarketing and spam. Spreading urban legends in the aftermath of tragedy. Wilful propaganda. Neo-Conservatism. Alu Akbar.

Selling the "rape is worse than murder" line is great if you want to show you're a SNAG and improve your chances of getting laid. But to me, that's bullshit. I speak from experience - I've been violated as a kid. Get over it, move on. You don't "get over" being killed.




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