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The Relational View

Morality grows out of our relationship with one another

The relational view is really a group of associated views. What these views have in common is an emphasis on the ethical importance of relationships and particular bonds and situations that arise between persons. In general, relational ethics is sceptic about abstract and universalistic rules that are put forward to cover any and all situations, and urges us to 'see' the ethical situation as always concrete and specific rather that something that can be 'reduced' to a minor set of rules and precepts. Some versions of relational ethics hold that a small number of human practices or traits (eg, friendship, care, the ability to emphasize) are in a significant sense universal.

In its anti-universalist cast, relational ethics is different from the other main points of view. Relational ethics is particularistic rather than universalistic. We cannot grasp the ethical importance or substance of a situation unless we focus on the situation itself: it makes a difference whether you are related to another person or not when you face important ethical choices, eg, if you have to choose between helping one rather than another person.