Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Relativism and Nihilism

C. Stephen Evans

in Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199272174
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602061 | DOI:
Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Relativism and Nihilism

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Gilbert Harman develops a theory of moral relativism in which rightness or wrongness depends on a framework. Differences in moral frameworks reflect differences in situation, power, and status. Harman’s relativism thus slides quickly into nihilism. He leaves us with no rational basis for criticizing evil people who do not adopt ‘our’ moral framework. Even a Hitler cannot be criticized so long as he consistently follows his own moral framework. Divine command theory responds to this moral confusion by asserting that our obligations are universal in scope because God commands them.

Keywords: Gilbert Harman; Kierkegaard; meta-ethics; moral framework; moral obligations; nihilism; relativism; universal; Works of Love

Chapter.  7045 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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