Learning Activity 1: Relativism and Utilitarianism
Available until Jun 2, 2022 11:59 PM. Submission restricted after availability ends.
This session, we are studying two different ethical theories. The first is relativism, which says that any moral opinion is as good as any other. In my notes, I discussed how relativism may appeal to us because we don’t want to be judgmental of others. But, if we accept relativism, we are not able to criticize cultural practices (or any practices) that we think are wrong—like FGM/C. The second theory we learned this session is utilitarianism, which is a consequentialist ethical theory. It says we should do the actions that bring about the greatest happiness to the greatest number in the long term.
In the summer of 2015, President Obama visited Kenya and gave a moving speech about the equality of women. I would like you to watch from 27:50 – 32:20. Just move the play bar to get to this location. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WATCH THE WHOLE VIDEO– WATCH 27:50- 32:20:
If this embedded video doesn’t work, try following this link:
Answer BOTH of the following questions below.
1. In his speech, President Obama does not use the word “relativism”, yet he challenges this ethical theory in his argument that girls and women should be treated equally to men. Explain how his speech challenges relativism. Try to be specific in things he says in his speech. (Interestingly, Obama also appeals to Utilitarian theory, especially at the end of his speech. He claims educating girls will lead to a good consequence—girls who grow up to be mothers who can then educate their children. You can also discuss how Obama appeals to Utilitarianism to provide justification that women and girls should be equal to men.)
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