Monday, May 14, 2007

Relational Ethics Part 4

Notion of Universality Rejected
The modern paradigm would have us believe that the lists spoken of earlier are non-negotiable. Hence, their unapologetic use of the term absolute truth. This absolute truth is spoken of outside of the bounds of relationship and therefore falls into the category of top-down ethics. Stephen Fowl and L. Gregory Jones seem right to say, “We reject the notion of universality only insofar as someone claims that there are rules, principles, claims, values and the like that are detached from particular traditions and/or that all people must accept simply by virtue of being human. Even the process of specifying the universal implications of moral rules is inextricably tied to the descriptions that particular traditions offer.” They go on to say, “This is not to say that moral rules are unimportant in an account of ethics. Contrary to a comprehensive pluralism’s presumption, however, the importance of moral rules is not independent of the formation of character in socially-embodied traditions. Moral rules embody the wisdom of a tradition over time. They are thus contextualized within the friendships and practices of particular communities. The obligations specified by those rules are the obligations required by the exercise of the virtues of character. Moral rules are in principle open to revision because new situations and the particular discriminations made by people of practical wisdom may lead either to reformulations of the rule or to the formulation of new rules.”

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