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October 19, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Answering moral relativism and critiques of universalism

There are at least 6 places you can find these cards…..
1) Success literature (particularly Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or other works by Steven Covey….you can pick them up at a used bookstore for $2 each)
2) Business ethics or business leadership books
3) Political speeches (although more on the specific ethical claims…..)
4) Virtue good (generally in 1 & 2)
5) Any intro to philosophy textbook will have reasons why ethics are good or key
6) Justify your specific type of ethics (rights, etc..)

You might also read this by Peter Kreft on moral relativism.

Peter Kreft, philosopher at Boston College…..has a blazing indictment of relativism, which they are defending.M

Make them look silly in cross-examination. Specific examples asked in question form…..make them look stupid (especially if it relates to them: rape, genocide, stealing, etc…. or the fairness of the ballot).

There are a number of arguments I’ve included in the comments section (a re-make of this post) and you can look to an earlier article about the problems with ethical relativism here. (don’t forget to read the Kreft article…its on fire good)

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3 Comments

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  1. commpassioninpolitics / Oct 19 2012 1:18 am

    This is kind of a re-iteration of the above….but it might have some different reasons

    A very important debate.

    There are at least 9 ways to think about this & places you can find these types of cards…..
    1) Success literature (particularly Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or other works by Steven Covey….you can pick them up at a used bookstore for $2 each)
    2) Business ethics or business leadership books
    3) Political speeches (although more on the specific ethical claims…..)
    4) Virtue good (generally in 1 & 2)
    5) Justify your obligation as universal. Try to put the burden on them to read a specific explanation of why its not universal–especially if you have a reason it is.
    6) You might also read this: http://www.peterkree…anscription.htm
    Peter Kreft, philosopher at Boston College…..has a blazing indictment of relativism, which they are defending.M
    7) Make them look silly in cross-examination. Specific examples asked in question form…..make them look stupid (especially if it relates to them: rape, genocide, stealing, etc…. or the fairness of the ballot).
    Spend some time coming up with these…..just 3 to 5 minutes…because you can use them so often versus critiques of ethics/morality/values.
    8) Also, what are the specific obligations of our Congress people??????? They’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution (you want to read the pre-amble specifically for the obligations). This might create tension on Federalism….but otherwise pretty good.
    9) Everything is values & ethics….even anti-ethics. Denial is an illusion. You are acting on values even when you try not to.

    Those Kreft cards are ON FIRE good. 8 Reasons!!!! Plus it basically link turns the internal impact to relativism.

  2. commpassioninpolitics / Oct 19 2012 3:23 am

    Here is a blog post on answering meta-ethics & skepticism…..there is a lot of overlap….but some unique reading suggestions from another debater:
    https://learnpolicydebate.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/answering-meta-ethics-and-skepticism-in-policy-debate/

  3. commpassioninpolitics / Oct 19 2012 4:13 am

    Ethics, respect, rights, and justice solves back all your arguments. Power, without ethics is the root cause of your arguments. Game over.

    Ideology, value choices, and language manipulation is inevitable too. The question is do we have something for justice and accountability–do we have standard to hold murders, rapists, and other dehumanizers accountable to–because without that we can ceed the world to Hilters, Pol Pots, and other tyrants–which multiplies your impacts immeasurably.

    Your K is impossible outside of values and ethics. Its the precondition for these discussions. It helps us compare and prioritize values in a meaningful way and without resorting to violence.

    Criticism of universalism is straw person built on a straw person of an extreme Kantianism. Kant’s theory isn’t all there is to ethics. Our ethics is X, Y, and Z.

    Our universal is defensible. Limit your universal to something very defendable.

    Highlight the perf con with their other arguments.

    See also your Nietzsche, Normativity, and PoMo files.

    Gut check–immigrants vote every day with their feet on these values.

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