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Some people feel that morality is just a matter of personal opinion or cultural practice. I agree with Rachels and Stace that this view is unsatisfactory. I think another philosopher, Anthony Appiah, makes a good point. He says that it is difficult to come up with exceptionless moral rules, but there are universal values. One good example is kindness. Everyone wants to be treated with kindness, and, therefore, it is a moral value to be kind. I like this example.
Another example is harm. When I ask students about what is right or wrong, they frequently say, “I don’t care what anyone does so long as they aren’t hurting anyone.” Caring that they don’t hurt anyone is a pretty big universal value. Not hurting people is generally a moral value. We praise people who don’t hurt others unnecessarily because we see that causing pain is, in general, bad. Sometimes, dentists, physical therapists, police, and warriors may need to cause pain for a good reason (sometimes they do for bad reasons as well), but we generally value those who reduce pain rather than create more of it.
Can you think of any universal moral values or practices? Do you think relativism is a defensible position? Why or why not? (Minimum of 5 sentences)


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