Criticism Of Cultural Relativism

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In this paper I will argue that cultural relativism is a weak argument. Cultural relativism is the theory that all ethical and moral claims are relative to culture and custom (Rachels, 56). Pertaining to that definition, I will present the idea that cultural relativism is flawed in the sense that it states that there is no universal standard of moral and ethical values. First, I will suggest that cultural relativism underestimates similarities between cultures. Second, I will use the overestimating differences perspective to explain the importance of understanding context, intention and purpose behind an act. Finally, referring to James Rachels’ “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism” I will solidify my argument further using his theory that…show more content…
Take, for example, an alien anthropologist who comes to earth to study humans and finds herself in a room where she witnesses, one human cut up another human while others watch, once he is finished cutting up the human the others applaud and congratulate this person for this horrifying act. From her point of view, this shows that humans have no regard for human life, however she in unaware of the context and purpose of the act. The human was conducting a surgery and likely saving the life of that person, the act of cutting someone up is the same but the purpose is different when you seek understanding of other…show more content…
It is flawed in the sense that it underestimates similarities and overestimates differences between cultures that prove that there is a universal standard for ethics among all human beings when we understand context and rules of morality that are consistent through all cultures. We are all able to judge each other’s cultures and our own cultures because that is how moral progress is accomplished. If there is moral progress and a universal standard of ethics than cultural relativism cannot
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