It is fair to agree with the idea of Moral Relativism. Each culture has their own views of right or wrong. Stepping into different cultures is similar to being a part of new societies, each with differing practices and ideals. There is no single definition of what is right or what is wrong. Individuals has their own opinions on separate topics and each reason for a belief is acceptable. For example, in some cultures it is important for a man to have multiple wives and women are not allowed to leave their homes without a man accompanying them. In the United States, it is not acceptable to have multiple wives and each woman has the freedom to go where ever they like whenever they please. When discussing the idea of abortion individuals have opposing views depending on what their morals are and if they believe in the life of an unborn child. While some people believe it is entirely up to the pregnant women whether they desire to abort their
Cultural relativism is the theory where there is no objective truth in morality, and moral truths are determined by different cultures. The primary argument used to justify cultural relativism is the cultural differences argument, which claims different cultures have different moral practices and beliefs, therefore, there is no objective truth in morality (Newton). After reading James Rachels The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, I find his criticisms to be persuasive because the argument made for Cultural Relativism is not sound from a logical point of view. You cannot draw a conclusion about what is factual based on what people believe is factual. Rachels also points out that even though cultures do in fact disagree about moral values,
Cultural relativism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “Is the thesis that a person’s culture strongly influences her modes of perception and thought” Most cultural relativists add to this definition saying that there is no standard of morality. This means that morality is relative to the particular society that one lives in. Prominent ethicist James Rachels has written against this view in his work titled The Challenge of Cultural Relativism. This paper will be focused on evaluating Rachels’ critique of cultural relativism, and whether it was right for him to endorse
Since, cultural relativists argue that society determines moral standards, therefore an individual that opposes the normal is morally incorrect. But what if you are apart of multiple cultures? Shade-Landau uses case of Wisconsin vs. Yoder to illustrate this contradiction (301). This group does not allow individuals to exist in multiple societies, thus proving cultural relativism’s problematic argument against ethical objectivity. An individual is correct and incorrect at the same time and cultural relativism is unable to adjust or reverse this result. Many societies are a "melting pot" of cultures and most people belong to multiple thus proving that cultural relativism is
First of all, universalism creates conformity that cultural relativism completely abolishes. With one set of human rights that is in practice for everyone everywhere, people’s cultures will begin to die as some of the rights may be blocking them from practicing their traditions. In the modern day, with the internet and the merging of the world, cultures and traditions are beginning to fade and that process can be slowed down with the relativist ideals. The rights that come from this ideology are based on the values associated with the cultures, which supports all traditions, civilizations, society boundlessly as the human rights are boundless themselves. While the rights are based on what the people decide is correct, and the argument states that people will often choose what is more comfortable or ‘fun’ over what is moral, I believe that if actually put into practice the human population will decide what is humane in the long run. What I mean is that there will be trials and conflicts in some cultures with problems of theft or death, but these sacrifices will benefit the human race and humans will realize certain ‘golden’ rules that are always applicable. This will enable the world to have rights that can apply to everyone, but rights that cater to each individual religion, culture and country. For these reasons, cultural relativism is a superior mindset to
Human rights would also have to be agreed upon by the majority of the people from that culture, which leads to greater debate about what is majority and what is a culture. There is even the issue of if you live in a culture but do not agree with the moral rules. All these issues or disadvantages of ethical relativism would have to be discussed in detail at another time. The biggest take away is that these moral rules are guided by the agreement of the majority of the culture and that is the correct moral code for
I have not personally witnessed cultural relativism, however I do know that it very well exists. An example of this idea is in something such as equality in the workplace for both men and women. A person following the cultural relativist perspective would say that it is wrong to deny women that equality in the workplace in America today. The cultural relativist would also say, however, that there is a culture where it is acceptable to limit certain areas of freedom from women.
Ethnocentrism according to The Essence of Anthropology is “a way of viewing other cultures in relation to one’s own in the belief that the familiar sets a universal standard of what is proper or correct”. Throughout Cultural Relativism and Universal Rights the author Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban expresses her thoughts on what anthropologist can do to protect human rights within the cultures they study without considering ethnocentrism, holistic perspectives, and being culture-bound. Overall Fluehr-Lobban does not do a good job at expressing her ideas on how anthropologist can help protect human rights and I found myself not agreeing with her statements.
In essence there are no limits to cultural relativism since it’s the study and understanding of cultures and religions, the only problem with this is getting accurate neutral information of a certain culture or religion but it’s a possible task.
Going off that, in cultural relativism what is right or holds moral value does so from one’s culture. What does this mean then to the disenfranchised – for instance, the non-white, indigent, women, or the mentally impaired? When they breach from the culturally accepted norm they don’t receive the same protection as those in power. The author of our book, Judith Boss states: “cultural relativism promotes ethnocentrism and legitimates hatred and discrimination.”
In the article “Cultural Relativism and Universal Rights” by Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, the author explains that the job description of an anthropologist requires them to use a cultural relativism approach, when witnessing and analyzing a culture. However, the author questions whether or not there anthropologist should abandon culture relativism depending on the situations, particularly when witnessing anyone in a dangerous situation. Carolyn also claims anthropologist refuse to discuss this topic, even though they know better than anyone else of the cruelty that goes on in many cultures (1). Carolyn also points out that the few times anthropologist has spoken out; there has been a good result such as in. Carlyon also addresses the counter arguments
In reality, however, this can never be achieved to its supposedly full potential. This view of cultural relativism would theoretically work if everyone would cooperate like this. Sure, it sounds wonderful: two different cultures can put aside their differences and live in peace and balance together to make the world a better place where everybody gets along and will live happily ever after. But – here is where the nasty part comes in – humans are apt to disagreements no matter what. Of course, many would adhere to culturally relativistic beliefs if this theory were somehow globally instated, but there are too many trivial issues in the theory that would still be left open for more argument.
Susan Okin passionately argues for the assessment of individual rights within cultural groups. Particularly, she hopes for an implementation of feminist values into all cultures, especially minority cultures living within a liberal majority. Many cultural minorities propose special group rights, which would allow them to continue their practices even if it goes against the cultural majority’s values and laws. These group rights would not apply to anyone outside the minority culture, though Okin would argue that for many cases, these group rights should not be extended to the minority culture in the first place. As a foundation, Okin defines feminism as “the belief that women should not be disadvantaged by their sex, that they should be recognized as having human dignity equal to that of men, and that they should have the opportunity to live as fulfilling and as freely chosen lives as men can” (Okin 10). Therefore, Okin asserts that any minority culture, living within a liberal, feminist culture, that has any practice that perpetuates disadvantaging their women or actively withholds them from having as free of lives as men, should be reconsidered when they ask for group rights.
The fight for and discussion of human rights and the applicability of such rights has raged for decades, and more broadly for centuries. Philosophers such as John Locke and Thomas Hobbes have touched on human rights, and political figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt have made the theoretical discussion of such rights a reality through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since the Declaration, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10th, 1948, there has been more and more literature on the topic, as well as if considerations should be made for different cultures. Phyllis Chesler, professor emerita of psychology and women 's studies at the College of Staten Island, recently took up this apparent clash between the universality of human rights and considerations of cultural relativism. She addressed this clash by arguing in favor of banning the burka in Western countries. Martha Nussbaum, however, argued against a proposed ban on the burka in Spain and other European countries on the grounds that it was discriminatory against the Islamic faith to ban that certain piece of clothing. Nussbaum argued that the practices and customs of cultures should be considered when considering laws that will affect them. Amartya Sen, an Indian economist and philosopher pointed out the glaring disparity between men and women in many countries. He also explained the faults and failures of two prominent