Essay on The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism, By James Rachels

Essay on The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism, By James Rachels

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In his essay, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism,” James Rachels argues that cultural relativism is an unsatisfactory moral theory because it is based upon an invalid argument, if cultural relativism were true, this would have some troubling and implausible consequences, and there are some moral rules common to all societies. In this short paper, I will argue that moral objectivism is a more satisfactory moral theory than ethical relativism.
Vaughn first defines ethical relativism by stating that moral standards are not objective, but are relative to what individuals or cultures believe (Vaughn 13). Rachels says that cultural relativism states “that there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics; there are only various cultural codes, and nothing more” (Rachels 698). Vaughn defines cultural relativism as “the view that right actions are those sanctioned by one’s culture” (13). Vaughn and Rachels agree with moral objectivism and are against ethical relativism. Cultural relativism and ethical relativism are related because ethical relativism regarding cultures is called cultural relativism, and ethical and cultural relativism involve a culture deciding morals and between what is right and what is wrong. Moral objectivism is the idea that at least some moral standards are objective, there are moral norms or principles that are valid or true for everyone (13). It is related to relativism because they both are believing in what they think is morally right and what is morally wrong, and moral objectivism believes there are universal moral principles and relativism believes there are no valid universal principles.
Ethical relativism is the view that moral standards are not objective, but are relative to what individuals or cu...

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...tures are different and believe different morals, so believing in cultural relativism is merely amiss. Cultural relativism states that cultures decide between right and wrong, but some people in those cultures could feel differently of what their culture believes in; therefore, cultural relativism could never be right. Every culture has similar morals. For example, everyone wants what is good for their people and will do anything and everything to protect them. Moral objectivism makes more sense to agree with and has little to no flaws in my opinion. I would want to believe in what I believe is right instead of a culture deciding my morals for me. Overall, Vaughn and Rachels give great evidence and examples to support their theory of objectivism. Therefore, moral objectivism is the right choice to believe in and is the most satisfactory moral theory.

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