Slavery has been practiced world-wide since the earliest days of humanity, and is still practiced in parts of the world even today. Yet today in America most people think that slavery is absolutely morally wrong. This week, we have read about the view that all moral values are relative to a particular culture. We have also read about the view that moral values are conventions meant to keep the powerful from taking advantage of the weak, and that if people can take advantage of others without getting punished, they will (in the “Ring of Gyges” passage from Plato’s Republic). Both of these views would seem to present a challenge to our assumptions that slavery is absolutely wrong. Present an argument for the view that slavery is wrong, and discuss the following questions:
Does your argument show that slavery is absolutely wrong, even if there are people that disagree? If yes, explain why your argument shows that (a) other cultures that permit slavery are (or were) wrong to do so even though they have different beliefs, and that (b) it would be wrong to enslave people even if one could do so without being punished. Be sure to refer to the readings on cultural relativism for part (a) and the reading from Plato’s Republic for part (b). If you do not think that your argument shows (a) or (b), explain why, and again, be sure to refer to the readings on cultural relativism for part (a) and the reading from Plato’s Republic for part (b).
must be 500 words