According to a second form of absolutism, royal legislative authority derives from a contract between ruler and subjects, in which the people irreversibly transfer power to him (see Thomas Hobbes).
Moral absolutism in this second sense is often held as opposed to consequentialism.
Moral absolutism in our first sense is opposed to moral relativism, which denies that there are any moral principles that have universal application.
Absolutism endorses two claims: (1) some actions are intrinsically right or wrong; (2) the consequences of an action of this sort (e.g., lying) can never override its intrinsic rightness or wrongness.
Firstly, absolutism may refer to the claim that there exists a universally valid moral system, which applies to everyone whether they realize it or not.
Ross’s theory is an example of a moderate deontology, that is, deontology without absolutism.
By contrast, moral absolutism holds that some actions are absolutely wrong; they could never be right no matter what consequences of failing to do them might be.
Absolutism in this sense says, for example, that it is always wrong to kill, or always wrong to lie, or always wrong to tortue another.
Absolutism upholds only the formal requirement that some moral principles admit of no exceptions—that there are some moral principles it is always wrong to break.
Given its emphasis on moral principles, and opposition to consequentialism, it may seem unclear how absolutism differs from deontology.
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Secondly, although moral absolutism is committed to their being a universally valid set of moral principles, it is not committed to saying that anyone currently knows this universal moral code.
Most contemporary defenders of absolutism would not hold that lying is always impermissible but may maintain this of (e.g., torture).
Moral absolutism in this sense is committed to the existence of universal moral principles and for this reason is sometimes called universalism.
Probably the most moderate form of absolutism originates in the writings of the Jesuit jurist and theologian Francisco Suбrez, who argued that the authority of the ruler derives the people’s delegating power to him.
The answer is that absolutism is a species of deontology.
The term ‘absolutism’ has both a moral and political connotation.
Moral absolutism presupposes objectivism—the doctrine that moral principles are true, or justified, independently of anyone’s belief that they are true or justified.
Absolutism says that some actions are wrong whatever the consequences.
The word ‘absolutism’ does not have an entirely uniform meaning within contemporary moral and political writings.
Secondly, absolutism may refer to the claim that moral rules or principles do not admit any exceptions.