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Cultural Relativism Analysis

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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,
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For example: So euthanasia is right for person A if he approves of it, but wrong for person B if she disapproves of it, and the same would go for cultures with similarly diverging views on the subject (13). Cultural relativism seems to many to be a much more plausible doctrine. To many people this is true; supported as it is by a convincing argument and the common conviction that is admirably consistent with social tolerance and understanding in a pluralistic world (Vaughn 15). However, cultural relativism is not the most satisfactory moral theory. ‘“Cultural relativism implies that another common place of moral life illusion moral disagreement, and such inconsistencies hint that there may be something amiss with relativism. It seems it conflicts violently with common sense realities of the moral life. The doctrine implies that each person is morally infallible”’ (Vaughn 14). Rachels states that, “cultural relativism would not only forbid us from criticizing the codes of other societies; it would stop us from criticizing our own” (Rachels 700). However, there are some reasons one may accept relativism and it is because it is a comforting position. It relieves individuals of the burden of serious critical reasoning about morality, and it…show more content…
Someone might reject moral objectivism because different cultures have different morals. For example: some cultures believe that the worst criminals deserve the death penalty, but some cultures believe that know one should be put to death for a crime, but moral objectivism is a better moral theory than ethical relativism because in agreeing with cultural relativism, you are believing that cultures decide between right and wrong. Cultural relativism implies that only the cultures can decide for individuals what is right and what is wrong. With moral objectivism, believing what is right and what is wrong is valid or true for everyone. Believing in cultural relativism means you can also not judge other cultures of what they think is right or wrong. Vaughn and Rachels give examples and evidence to support moral objectivism and I believe it is the better moral theory. I stated that one might be against objectivism because every culture has their own morals, and some cultures do not believe every individual should have the power to choose between what is right and what is wrong. Some cultures believe in relativism, where only they can decide their morals and can also not judge other cultures of their morals. Every one is going to judge different cultures morals, no matter what. Everyone thinks differently and
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