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Set of Principles and Norms, Essay Example

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Essay

Whether morality is subjective or objective is still a matter of hot debate. On the one hand, we are bound to follow a whole set of principles and norms that are universally accepted and understood. On the other hand, we are surrounded by numerous beliefs and assumptions that are irrelevant and even unacceptable in other cultures. It is generally assumed, that if a wise man produces a relevant judgment, which is reasonable and acceptable, others will seek to follow it (Ruggiero, 2008). At the same time, not all these judgments are relevant and reasonable to the extent, which can turn them into universal truths.

One of the Hindu moral prescriptions claims that “one should never strike a woman; not even with a flower” (Ruggiero, 2008). The reasoned wisdom of this prescription lays in the need for society to protect women from unfair attacks and violence. Given that the majority of cultures treat a woman as a weaker sex it is understandable and clear why such judgment became universally accepted and used. Another Chinese belief that claims “The Master said, Respect the young” (Ruggiero, 2008) looks at least irrelevant against the norms and judgments of the western culture: with our increasing respect toward elder populations, and taking into account the attitudes, which we usually hold toward the oldest members of our society, this moral judgment goes against the basic norms of our ethical conduct. In the same way, the claim “Be blameless to thy kindred. Take no vengeance even though they do thee wrong” (Ruggiero, 2008) may not be accepted by cultures, which promote vengeance as the natural form of communication between different population groups. Nevertheless, all these moral prescriptions are desirable and useful. That they can change cultural beliefs of masses is obvious, because thousands and millions of people follow them in their daily performance. As Ruggiero (2008) writes, even if we cannot judge the authors of these sayings personally, we can look through the wisdom they were trying to deliver to their followers. At the same time, we should be very attentive to possible relativism or absolutism of such sayings.

References

Ruggiero, V. (2008). Thinking critically about ethical issues, (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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