The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism By James Rachels

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Throughout his essay “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, “James Rachels describes cultural relativism, the concept that all cultures have different moral codes and that there is no true moral code, and he also provides six claims that are related to cultural relativism, in which some of these he believes are true and the rest false. One of the main objections Rachel’s makes is against the claim of cultural relativism that states that right and wrong come directly from culture. In Rachels eyes this statement means that in order for something to be morally right, it only has to fit within the culture’s own moral code. For example, if a mother and father are to kill their newborn baby because they wanted a girl and got a boy instead and their culture’s moral code does not condemn this action, then the parents are morally correct. For the family, this means that they are not to be held morally responsible since the moral code of their culture says that the action is right. With this Rachels also would say that since morals are directly related to certain cultures and there is not one true moral code. Therefore, no culture has a special status and should not be able to condemn another culture’s values or even their own. We should simply adopt an attitude of patience towards practices of other cultures, for there is no room to question cultures moral beliefs. Rachels criticizes the claim of cultural relativism by providing us with a list of consequences: We could no longer

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