Friday, March 29, 2013

[PHI 2200] Moral Relativism and Absolutism

The following video clip presents the results of an experimental study about people's meta-ethical views, specifically, whether moral judgments are absolute or relative.

In the video, the following example is supposed to illustrate how two conflicting judgments can both be right:
  1. January is a winter month. (Said by a person from the USA.)
  2. January is a summer month. (Said by a person from Australia.)
Then, the narrator, Amanda Palmer, says:
In this case, there is no single objective fact about whether January is a winter month or a summer month. Rather, it can only be a winter month or a summer month relative to a specific hemisphere. When talking about the seasons, two people can make seemingly opposite claims but both be correct.
Does this case really show that "two people can make seemingly opposite claims [about the seasons] but both be correct"? After all, we cannot really determine the truth value of either (1) or (2) without the additional information about the location of the people who assert (1) and (2). In that case, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that, without further information, (1) and (2) don't really have a truth value, as far as we can tell, rather than say that (1) and (2) are both true?

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