Cultural relativism is the idea that moral and ethical systems varying from culture to culture, are all equally credible and no one system is morally greater than any other. Cultural relativism is based on the concept that there is no “ultimate” standard of good and evil, so the judgement of what is seen as moral, or immoral, is simply a product of one’s society and/or culture. The general consensus of this view is that there is no ethical position that may be considered “right” or “wrong” in terms of society and culture (Cultural Relativism). In this paper I will argue that cultural relativism is not an adequate view of morality by providing evidence of its most common logical problems and faulty reasoning.
The Truth about Cultural Relativism It is absolutely impossible to deny that every culture believes different things. It 's in human nature. Humans are programmed to gather with people that share similar beliefs. Look around, even among one’s culture, it is easy to recognize patterns.
Morality, according to Socrates, is about “how we ought to live” and why. Cultural Relativism is one among numerous disputed theories which has attempted to expand upon Socrates uncomplicated definition (Rachels Elements of Moral Philosophy 1). This theory is unique in its five basic claims. The theories basic claims contain weaknesses, strengths and unsound argument.
Each culture has their own unique set of beliefs and morals. What I believe to be ethical might be totally unethical or nonsense to you or even many others. For example, ISIS might believe that it is acceptable for them to behead others and perform terrorist acts in other countries. On the other hand, this would be completely unacceptable and unethical to many others because their cultures are completely different and these activities are not part of their culture. What is morally sound to an individual might not be to another individual. This then ties into cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is basically the idea that there are no universal morals that cultures share since each culture has a different view on what is right and wrong.
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
According to William Penn "Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” The theory of relativism was first thought of by an ancient Greek sophist, Protagoras. He stated that “man is the measure of all things.” Which means man is the ultimate source of value. If we took a look at the world today, we would see that are many other cultures other than our own. With many cultures within the world, everyone is bound to believe that every culture is different. Even though their different, all of them are similar to each other. So if this is the case, do we as humans have the right to judge these cultures? Although cultures are not alike it is able to be question through culture relativism.
“Ethical Relativism” By Manuel Velasques, Claire Andres, Thomas Shanks, and Michael Myer address the issues surrounding the moral choices of a society. A society cultures differs across the world and for that difference that their customs may differ from another’s. The definition that the book uses to define ethical relativism is “Ethical relativism is the theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one's culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practiced” (Line 22-24). In which the society determines if an action is right or wrong, not the individual. This idea is like our previous philosopher Hobbes idea about values and dignity. Hobbes believes that society
According to the Oxford Dictionary, cultural relativism is ‘the theory in which beliefs, customs, and morality exist in relation to the particular culture from which they originate and are not absolute.’
Cultural relativism is a theory, which entails what a culture, believes is what is correct for that particular culture, each culture has different views on moral issues. For example, abortion is permissible by American culture and is tolerated by the majority of the culture. While, Catholic culture is against abortion, and is not tolerated by those who belong to the culture. Cultural relativism is a theory a lot of individuals obey when it comes to making moral decisions. What their culture believes is instilled over generations, and frequently has an enormous influence since their families with those cultural beliefs have raised them. With these beliefs, certain cultures have different answers for different moral dilemmas and at times, it is difficult to decide on a specific moral issue because the individual may belong to multiple
May be the most solid argument in opposition to ethical relativism emerges from people who argue that global moral standards can be present even if some beliefs and practices differ among cultures. Stated otherwise, we can recognize cultural variations in moral beliefs and practices and yet, hold to the moral wrongness of some of these beliefs and practices (Lyons 23).