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Relativism and Emotivism Comparison


I’m working on a theater discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Compare and contrast subjective and cultural relativism, OR either ONE of those two and emotivism (chapter 2). In other words, you would take 2 of the 3 types of “relativism” described in the chapter, and then compare and contrast those two. You might want to do this by means of 2 paragraphs, one devoted to one type, one devoted to the other. Or you could organize your post in the form of 3 paragraphs, one devoted to the key features of one type, one devoted to the contrasting key features of the other, and a third paragraph devoted to describing what they have in common.

Here are parts of the chapter to look back at:

The section headings

The words and phrases in bold text

The words and phrases in italics

The quotations from various sources (which Vaughn makes to support his points)

The use of syllogisms by Vaughn to establish a point (there is an example on page 34)

Note: The advice I give above can be applied to ALL of the chapters in the textbook, so do the same scan and review each week.


The article below was written by psychologist Michele Gelfand, of The University of Maryland. In it, she draws upon her research into what she calls “tight” and “loose” societies to discuss the very different response of different nations to the Covid-19 pandemic (available data suggests that “tight societies” have done better than “loose” ones). This article connects to this week’s theme in the following way: Gelfand defines the key difference between “tight” and “loose” societies in terms of different “social norms.” If you want a bit of a challenge this week, you could produce a DB post in which you combine what you have learned about “relativism” from the second chapter of Vaughn’s book with a discussion of how what you have learned sheds light upon, or illustrates, the specific behaviors Gelfand describes in her article (which in turn is based upon her book, cited at the end of the piece). If you recall, Vaughn includes among the 4 elements of ethics what he calls “the dominance of moral norms.”

Is this a situation in which moral norms should take precedence over social or cultural norms? Why or why not? (A caution: You must refer to the two relevant sources in your post, the Vaughn book and the Gelfand article–do not “put words in their mouths”. If you claim one or the other of them says X or Y, then be prepared to quote them saying that in your DB post, or, alternatively, provide a paraphrase of what they say complete with a page number citation.)


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