In the 4th century BC the Greek sophist Protagoras, living in the midst of a period of Greek historical turmoil, turned to philosophy and an experimental model that he would develop to attempt to find any universally accepted moral principals. After collecting data from cultures he had the ability to examine, he concluded that he didn't find any universally accepted moral principals, which led him to the conclusion that there are no moral absolutes. In this case, when discussing something that has universal acceptance, it means with absolutely no exceptions, and a moral absolute is something that exists in the real world, independent of changes in perception. Protagoras concluded, through the use of human opinion for his data, likely to be not the most reliable source, that if morals are not absolute in nature, they are relative to the cultures that they are inherent to. This conclusion leads him to be called the father...
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...ood mixture, consisting of a pinch of Cultural Relativism, a dash of Religious Ethics, a little bit of the others, and a lot of the Ethics of Virtue, would be the most beneficial to my life. It may seem like this conclusion is a cop out, a way to not choose a side in the battle of moral philosophies, but really, the reality of the world lends itself to a mixture, from cultural diversity to the diversity necessary for a healthy diet, a composition of many ideas seems to prevail, hardly ever just one.
Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 3rd edition. McGraw-Hill, Boston, 1999.
Herskovits, Melville J.
1967 Cultural Dynamics. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Abridged from Cultural Anthropology originally published in 1955.
1972 Cultural Relativism: Perspectives in Cultural Pluralism. New York: Random House.
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