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What Is Cultural Relativism?

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Every individual is taught what is right and what is wrong from a young age. It becomes innate of people to know how to react in situations of killings, injuries, sicknesses, and more. Humans have naturally developed a sense of morality, the “beliefs about right and wrong actions and good and bad persons or character,” (Vaughn 123). There are general issues such as genocide, which is deemed immoral by all; however, there are other issues as simple as etiquette, which are seen as right by one culture, but wrong and offense by another. Thus, morals and ethics can vary among regions and cultures known as cultural relativism.
What Is Cultural Relativism?
Cultural relativism is “moral relativism regarding cultures; the view that right actions are
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Different cultures have different moral beliefs.
2. If different cultures have different moral beliefs, then there are no objective moral truths.
3. Therefore, there are no objective moral truths (O’Connor 6).
Premise 1 contains many examples to back up its factuality. For instance, Muslim culture requires females, who reach puberty, to cover up practically everything from head to toe. It is deemed morally wrong for women to show their hair or skin to men for it is a means of seduction. However, in other cultures, causal wear is seen as normal and accepted without any men falling for a woman by the sight of her hair or skin. Therefore, the act of not covering one’s body is seen as right in one culture, and completely wrong in another.
Premise 2 states that since there are different beliefs from one culture to the next, there cannot be one or more belief(s) that apply to everyone. There are countless different moral beliefs from culture to culture whether it be dining etiquette, or what side of the road one drives on, or how one should dress. As a result, the conclusion, from premises 1 and 2, that there are no objective moral truths is viewed as sound and valid. However, if viewed from a closer perspective, it can be seen that there is an inference with premise
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Viewed from this perspective, the argument for cultural relativism is not valid. For example, the premise could be female circumcision is allowed and moral in Nigeria. Female circumcision is prohibited and immoral in the U.S. Therefore, the conclusion, would be that female circumcision is neither moral nor immoral, objectively. Simply stating, there are some beliefs that are viewed as moral by one culture and immoral by another culture does not prove whether it is objectively right or wrong.
The idea of human evolution puts strong Christians and firm atheists at opposite grounds. Christians believe that God is the reason for mankind’s creation of changes, while atheists believe in the theory of evolution and gene pools. However, science does prove that evolution and genetics is a reason behind the changes throughout history of mankind, but there still lies reason to believe that God is the source for miracles and unexplainable diseases. As Vaughn wrote, “moral disagreements between cultures can arise not just because their basic moral principles clash, but because they have differing non-moral beliefs that put those principles in very different lights,”
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