Moral Relativity

Digital communication (e.g., social media) presents a very fluid and variable range of behavior and practices. Perhaps more critically however, is the use of rigid moral and ethical frameworks on such wide ranges of online behavior and practices. That is, "x is right" and "y is wrong". Critically however, any notion of moral right and moral wrong is contingent upon a particular moral framework that is tied to culture, background, region, time in history, and the so on. In other words, morality is relative. That said, troubles arise when individuals operate under assumptions of moral rigidity -- that all individuals fall within "my/our moral framework". Inevitably, disagreements arise over such rigidity, but unlike disagreements over who's turn it is to wash the dishes, moral disagreements are hamstrung by falsifiability - or lack thereof. That is, a moral argument is uncompromising and cannot be negotiated. Position two such uncompromising moral arguments in opposition to one another, and you have an imminent conflict.

In this project, we present a framework of moral relativity that aims to account for both the rapid developments in technology and the disproportionate lag in technology laws. When people experience new forms of injustices afforded by advanced technology that are unaccounted for by law and policy, they engage in public democratic discussions of moral right and wrong. These discussions run the danger of becoming violent however, when people invoke their own rigid moral frameworks on other groups of people, who may be invoking their own respective rigid moral frameworks in return. To break this cycle of vitriol and misplaced hatred of our fellow humans, we suggest a framework of relative morality that encourages the acknowledgement of the flexibility and fallibility of all moral arguments. In doing so, we hope to encourage greater cooperation and prosocial behavior throughout all levels of society. The world is scarce as it is, and we feel we are working towards our own demise by perpetuating rigid frameworks of right and wrong.