Reading moral philosophy these days, I remain fascinated and perplexed–perhaps more so than with any other branch of philosophy–by the fact of ethics. That ethics exists. Now, I’m a complete skeptic about the possibility of resolving ethical disputes once and for all. To put it baldly, there is a deep, and maybe inescapable, truth about relativism. Apart from the problems with defending the coherence of his or her position, it seems inevitable that the relativist will be met with a curious revelation about themselves. This is revealed through outrage or amazement at the actions of another person, culture, etc. It is often the case that these kinds of responses are generated not by their dissonance with the relativist’s moral principles (the relativist is, after all, a relativist), but with the passionate attachments that we cultivate or maintain. Outrage is almost always emotional; rarely is it cool, cognitive righteous indignation. Amazement at the practices of an other involve a certain exoticism of the other, and that such an exoticism arises in the moral context says something about how the relativist remains caught up–despite themselves–in an an affective network which orients their lives and defines their ‘ethical stance’. It’s not so much that the foreigner’s actions are impossible to comprehend, but that the presence or absence of specific affects make them unintelligible or repulsive, and, when the act is sufficiently alien to us, condemnable. Criticism of relativism seems to be misdirected when it aims straight for the logical inconsistency of the position, which misses the real meaty part of ethical commitment: passionate attachments and the limitations they impose on the understanding.