Descriptivism

The part of Non-Normative Ethical Theory which investigates the ontological status of moral principles. The fundamental question for Descriptivism is, "Are moral principles objective features of the world, or are they relative to some particular individual, culture, or species?" Descriptivism divides between two opposing views:

  1. Objectivism - which maintians moral principles are part or the discoverable world; this position divides into two further positions:

    1. Moral Objectivism - there is one or more objective moral principles defining the good and obligation (in case of conflict they may be ranked in order of moral importance)
    2. Moral Absolutism - there is at least one objective moral principle that ought not be over-ridden under any circumstances

  2. Relativism - which maintians moral principles are not part of the objective world; Relativism also breaks into a moderate and strong position:

    1. Moral Subjectivism - the good is relative to the individual
    2. Moral Conventionalism - the good is relative to some group or other context:

      1. Familiocentrism - the good is determined by one’s family
      2. Ethnocentrism - the good is determined by one’s culture
      3. Anthropocentrism - the good is determined by the human species

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