Essay about Cultural Relativism And Social Relativism

Essay about Cultural Relativism And Social Relativism

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There are different countries and cultures in the world, and as being claimed by cultural relativists, there is no such thing as “objective truth in morality” (Rachels, 2012). Cultural relativists are the people who believe in the Cultural Ethical Relativism, which declares that different cultures value different thing so common ethical truth does not exist. However, philosopher James Rachels argues against this theory due to its lack of invalidity and soundness. He introduced his Geographical Differences Argument to point out several mistakes in the CER theory. Cultural Ethical Relativism is not totally wrong because it guarantees people not to judge others’ cultures; but, Rachels’ viewpoints make a stronger argument that this theory should not be taken so far even though he does not reject it eventually.
First of all, Rachels outlined the argument of the CER theory so that it can be easily to understood and critiqued. The argument for Cultural Ethical Relativism is (Rachels, 2012: p. 422):
P1. If Different cultures have different moral codes, then there is no objective truth in morality.
P2. Different cultures have different moral codes.
C. Therefore, there is no objective truth in morality.
At the first glance, this argument is absolutely valid, which means that the conclusion must be true if the premises are true. This type of argument is called modus ponens. In premise 1, there is a condition that if cultures define moral codes and cultures are different from one another, so there is not any standard moral truth available in the world. Different cultures have different things to worship, to believe. Therefore, they have no common belief. Right or wrong of an action depends on the culture they practice, and other cultur...


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...hen looking at human rights, some countries might practice better than others. Some countries are communist or some have dictatorship, where human rights are still abandoned, whereas global trend is that human rights should be enhanced. On the contrary, this theory is good in the way it sees different cultures at the same level, so there is no judge between them. Nobody should underestimate others’ culture. Respect is essential when viewing one’s culture.
In conclusion, the Cultural Ethical Relativism still has some mistaken views. It contributes to the acceptance of culture differences and respect, but it is not right by drawing a conclusion that there is no moral truth. Rachels makes a strong argument against this theory with descriptive analogy and points out its mistakes. Although this theory is not entirely true, it is acceptable for its respectful perspective.

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