Relativism and tolerance 2

Notes for October 1

Main points

I said that I thought Harman had described a logically coherent way for moral relativists to talk and think. However, I said that I did not find his remarks about tolerance plausible.

Abortion and Harman’s principle

I said that I didn’t understand the state of mind of the abortion opponent that Harman described on pages 57-58. This person believes that abortion is murder and also that abortion should be tolerated. I said that I didn’t understand how anyone could believe the so-called justification principle (p. 57) would trump murder.

How should we respond to diversity?

There are a lot of ways of responding to different moral practices. I listed some on the handout. One thing that worries me about relativism is that it would cut many of them off.

Key concepts

  1. The difference between logically coherent and logically incoherent forms of moral relativism.
  2. The difficulty of both holding your moral views and also being tolerant.
This page was written by Michael Green for Problems of Philosophy, Philosophy 1, Fall 2013. It was posted October 1, 2013.
Problems of Philosophy