The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism By James Rachels

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Cultural Relativism is a perspective that moral codes vary from culture to culture, no moral code within in a culture is superior to the other codes in different cultures; This ideology comes from there is no universal truth, meaning there is no philosophical standard that determines if something is either right or wrong, therefore one cannot establish that something is “better.” In “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism,” James Rachels introduces the topic by introducing Darius whom is a king of ancient Persia. Darius visits different societies, he observed the differences between the Callatians and the Greeks. One major difference that struck the King was the honoring of the dead. The King asked the Greeks if they would eat their dead, just like the Callatians, they were appalled. The King also asked the Callatians if they would cremate their dead, just like the Greeks, they were also horrified. Another example mentioned is the difference between the North Indigenous groups and the Americans’ sexual and marriage practices and regard for human life. The Northern Indigenous groups believe that it is a sign of hospitality to let their guests use their wives (men often have more than one wife). Infanticide is common with these groups, as well as letting the old die. The Northern Indigenous groups do this because if there are too many mouths to feed, then the whole family could risk starvation. We can conclude that different cultures have different moral codes. What is right for one society could be unmoral for another society; the moral code for one society establishes what is right for only that society, we cannot assume that the moral code upholds to every society. Since, every society has different moral codes, then we should be ... ... middle of paper ... ...nd an Irish funeral will be significantly different. In a typical Muslim funeral, the dead is mourned, their life is not celebrated, and people attending the funeral will wear all black. However, in an Irish funeral the dead’s life is celebrated for the deceased’s accomplishments. Yes, the funeral practices are possibly completely different, but there is one goal both groups strive for which is honoring of the dead. Being tolerant and open-minded allows you to have the capability to learn more about different cultures. If a society is not tolerant about other moral codes, this could possibly lead to wars. Tolerance is needed to have a civilization. For example, if your neighbor has different values than you, would you burn down his house because his values differ? If we are not tolerant of each other’s values than we risk the consequence of being at war all the time.

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