Sample Argumentative Essay On Midgley's Concept Of Universalism

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Ethics, Morality, World, Culture, Law, Human, Development, People

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/10/29


Although moral standards are as diverse as there are cultures, most of the issues resemble depending on the intended activities. The acceptable ethics are often defined not merely by a culture's identity but by the tasks and activities the people of that culture engage in their daily lives. Some believers of the existence universal moral standards assert that the Creator installed conscience in every human being to determine ethics uniformly. This natural knowledge can be identified in both the civilized and barbaric groups of people across all regions of the earth. People can make choices and establish and distinguish accurately and uniformly, the difference between right and wrong. Researchers have observed that a globally acceptable code of ethics would be the solution in the current world threatened by a rapidly residing level of morality. The call for acceptable rules is vital in ensuring the survival of humanity in the future. Others deny the existence of moral standards and also the possibility of effectively initiating the standards. Those people are holding this anti-universalism position claim that it is more reasonable to deny than accept any existence of universally recognized set of morals basing on the fact that it makes it odd. In addition, deniers of an existence of universal moral standards note that if they existed, then the world would have less crime and evil. I believe in the existence of a written law in every man to determine right or wrong and, hence, an evident universal moral standard.

Background and previous efforts to consolidate universal values

In 1948, the newly formed United Nations produced the famous document titled Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document proclaimed the dignity and equality of all mankind to ensure freedom from previous instances of tyranny and torture. To protect the world population from injustice and discrimination due to rivalry and hatred, the United Nations proceeded to develop and produce the Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic. In this document, the UN extended the Human rights principals to other forms of life and upheld honesty and the pursuit of truth as the tools to solve world conflicts.
The United Nation's declarations openly avoided issues that lacked universal agreement. The controversial issues that had various views and beliefs according to the various cultures were left for the minor societies to handle. Such issues include cases like abortion and euthanasia. Different cultures strongly support their opposing issues and are not ready to negotiate with them. For instance, civilized nations (such the western countries) allow abortion and euthanasia on specifically prescribed conditions. Conservative cultures, on the hand, (such as Arab nations and other religious societies) do not permit this activity under any circumstances.
Different countries defined and incorporated standard values into their school curricula. In the United States of America, an advisory council of New Jersey first developed the core values intended for the public school curricula. These values are vital tools for counseling sessions alongside the curricula. The values included; respecting oneself, respecting other people, respecting the environment and civic responsibilities.

With respect to diversity and relativism among the countless world cultures, it is still possible to find common ground on the acceptable morals. Midgley's support of isolationism justifies the importance of the variety of opinions in morality among cultures in creating a universally acceptable code of ethics. The different cultural levels of moral standard are all based on basic functional issues such as respect for oneself and others.
Anthropologists believe that there are evidences of universalism. In a statement, Pope John Paul II commented that every man has a law written in their hearts. He urged all humanity to recognize, observe and obey the law within them. He supported the fact that certain universal moral principles should govern and guide all humanity. Bringing all humanity to adherence of these laws, he observed, will ultimately improve the moral condition of the entire globe.

The golden rule

Also going by the term “ethic of reciprocity”, the golden rule was developed by Marx Karl and enforces the concern for others. It proposes that one should not treat other people in a way that one would not like the other people to treat him or her. Positively, everyone should treat others in a way that he or she wants others to treat them.
The Bible emphasizes these concepts too. Both in the Jewish-respected part of the Torah and also the Christian based New Testament. The ancient prophet Moses, as well as Jesus, emphasized the need to respect and treat people equally and fairly as they need others to treat them. In summary, Jesus taught his followers to love another in order to fulfill the law.
The golden rule has served as a foundation of many laws such as the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights. It is common to all major religions of the world as well as all cultural groups with definite moral code of ethics.

Opposing universal standards of morality

The anti-universalism position (held by Mackie) maintains that promoting certain values as rules globally will highlight and promote a dominant (popular) culture's values. In justifying their case, they cite the age of slavery. In this age, slavery was universally acceptable as natural and humane. This acceptance relied on the fact that the dominant, most popular and powerful cultural groups maintained that position. Minor cultures were oppressed and suppressed regardless of their objectivity and beliefs.
Universal code of ethics would define rules not in their specificity but as overall definitions. For instance, the concept of modesty in attire will differ depending on issues such as religions and civilization. Modesty will, for this reason, remain abstract and general rather than specific. To define modesty will require the rules to accommodate multiple designs ranging widely from a culture to another. This situation renders the concept vague and useless.

Universalism versus anti-universalism

Both opposing groups agree on the fact that it is not easy to proclaim and enforce universal laws especially on ethics that vary with regions. All parties acknowledge the difficulty expected and the potential risk of imposing a value to the entire world for adherence. This is mainly due to the extreme levels of beliefs of world cultures. There are some societies that focus on enhancing strict traditional ethical standards inherited from their ancient ancestors and other societies that embrace and protect the evolution of ethical standards and consistent change to improvement their living standards. The conservative group enhances strict traditions opposing change while the civilized group protects freedom and change. Finding a code of ethics to govern both groups is difficult.
Although both opposing groups agree on the difficulty in realizing common global ethics, the group supporting universal values is optimistic and objective in improving the living conditions of mankind. They seek to develop a system that is stable enough to preserve mankind from cruelty and injustice. The anti-universalism believers, on the other hand, lack the faith and drive to protect and preserve global morals. They seek to avoid the risky process fearing to fail in the process.


Although it is a risky and hectic assignment to develop an acceptable code of Global ethics that will represent and accommodate every world's groups beliefs and definitions of morality, it is better to keep looking for the solution than succumb and resign to fate. Fate here means global moral degradation and absence of a system to solve the problems. Basing on the available ethics, it is possible to create and define morals for the world population. It is extremely important, however, that the rules should follow common and shared beliefs rather than focus on negotiating radical, strict and extreme positions of especially major religious rival groups.

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Sample Argumentative Essay On Midgley's Concept Of Universalism. Free Essay Examples - Published Oct 29, 2020. Accessed September 29, 2023.

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