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The Fundamental Claim of Cultural Relativism

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Cultural relativism is an axiom to which some individuals use to govern if an act is morally wrong or right. It is considered a subspecies of the theory of moral relativism as it essentially follows the same path but just considers a more narrow approach. Putting Schafer-Landau’s Argument from disagreement into context for cultural relativism, looks to disprove the theory, however I will demonstrate how it is flawed. Schafer-Landau’s Argument from disagreement states: P1: If well informed, open minded people intractably disagree about some claim, then that claim cannot be objectively true. P2: Well informed, open minded people intractably disagree about all ethical claims C: Therefore there are no objective moral truths. This is the fundamental claim for moral relativism. Cultural relativism is really an application of this statement as it acknowledges that individuals disagree about ethical claims, but aims to impose a ‘golden rule’ to determine whether an act is morally wrong or right. To put the cultural relativism theory into words: an act is morally right if and only if it is permitted by the moral code of the society to which the agent belongs. The studies of cultural relativism and moral relativism are often confused and it is important to know how to differentiate between the two. Relativism is a way of viewing an act as having no correct moral answer. An individual’s context (for convenience this is individual A), culture and background can influence whether they deem an act to be morally right or wrong. This can differ from the view of another individual (B), who may have other moral beliefs which conflict with A’s. For example, the Inuits from Alaska practiced senicide as part of their culture. When conditions were ha... ... middle of paper ... ...oral code. If you were in the shoes of the elders of this society, you may want to become a moral reformer. The fact is; who are we to say that killing in this circumstance is morally wrong? If you were in the shoes of the younger members of the Inuit tribe and the only way for you to survive and arrive at a safe haven was to kill your elders, you might think differently. You might as well have some members of the tribe get there instead of none. It all comes back to context. We can never look back in the past and deem an act morally wrong or right because unless you were there, and take into account all of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors and the context of every person, even if it may seem as if there is a definite solution, you just do not know all of the circumstances. This is following the theory of moral relativism. As a result, cultural relativism holds.
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