Essay on Cultural Relativism Is A Moral Theory

Essay on Cultural Relativism Is A Moral Theory

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Cultural Relativism is a moral theory which states that due to the vastly differing cultural norms held by people across the globe, morality cannot be judged objectively, and must instead be judged subjectively through the lense of an individuals own cultural norms. Because it is obvious that there are many different beliefs that are held by people around the world, cultural relativism can easily be seen as answer to the question of how to accurately and fairly judge the cultural morality of others, by not doing so at all. However Cultural Relativism is a lazy way to avoid the difficult task of evaluating one’s own values and weighing them against the values of other cultures. Many Cultural Relativist might abstain from making moral judgments about other cultures based on an assumed lack of understanding of other cultures, but I would argue that they do no favors to the cultures of others by assuming them to be so firmly ‘other’ that they would be unable to comprehend their moral decisions. Cultural Relativism as a moral theory fails to allow for critical thoughts on the nature of morality and encourages the stagnation of human culture. In this way it appears that cultural relativists have misunderstood the nature of morality.
It is very apparent that there is an abundance of cultural norms and moral ideals that exist throughout the world with a large variance in similarity. With so many opinions held about what is right or wrong, a cultural relativist may try to argue that none are either right or wrong, except within the context of their own culture. This argument appears plausible because it acknowledges the many different cultural norms and it seems to prevent any single group from claiming moral superiority over another. How...


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...rent, it is often the case the cultures share similar core values that govern their moral decisions. Because of this it can be argued that there does exist an objective set of values, but the expression of those values may be subjective. The cultural relativists’ claim that those outside of a certain culture are unable to understand its moral decisions is also one that is seemingly fair and correct. But people are able to understand cultures different than their own, people not only posses the ability to empathize, but people have also been assimilating for centuries. This ability to understand and evaluate other culture’s norms is what ultimately drives human cultural progression, without the ever changing nature of morality, human culture would come to a stand-still. For these reasons cultural relativism is a moral theory that misunderstands the nature of morality.

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