Ethical Reasoning for and Against Cultural Relativism

According to www. gotquestions. org/cultural-relavitsim, cultural relativism is the view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are related to the social norms and culture that one comes from. In other words, right and wrong or good and bad are culture-specific, meaning that what is reflected moral in one society may be reflected immoral in another. Therefore, since no collective standard of morality subsists, no one has the right to judge another society’s customs or to hold one society as better than the other.

Ethical relativism is closely related to cultural relativism in that ethical relativism views truth as capricious and not absolute. What establishes rights and wrongs is determined merely by the individual or by humanity. Truth is not objective, henceforth there can be no objective standard which applies to all cultures. It is a matter of personal opinion of what is right and wrong or good and bad, so no society can pass judgment on another society. For Cultural Relativism

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Cultural relativism sees nothing essentially wrong (and nothing essentially good) with any cultural expression (www. gotquestions. org); this lack of official superiority or inferiority between cultures indicates a very positive result—little to no disputes. This leads to the conclusion that the answer to world peace is simply cultural relativism; if no judgments were ever passed on another culture simply because they were only practicing what they, as their own society, believes in then cultures would have fewer reasons to fight.

There would still be issues regarding land, money, and power that complications would arise from, but levels of racism, stereotyping, bullying, and other social problems like discrimination would drop dramatically. Cultural relativism is a virtuous form of moral thinking because it allows people to think for themselves and to be who they were raised to be as this is only natural. This way of thinking enables one to follow their original culture more strictly simply because they wouldn’t be judged by what they were raised to believe.

When one is able to follow their culture they’re helping to preserve the past. Preserving the past allows further diversity; diversity is important because it prevents discrimination and promotes inclusiveness. Furthermore, cultural relativism is imperative for the reason that diversity can create new ideas and changes that can be beneficial to society. Against Cultural Relativism The Problem with Cultural relativism is that it can often be contradictory.

It states that it is up to the society’s social norms to decipher what is right and wrong, but in certain situations where societies collide, there can only be one solution. In places like America there are several religions and cultures compiled together into a society under one government and that often poses problems, especially for cultural relativists. For example, according to the Quran, Muslim husbands are morally entitled to beat their wives when they disobey them, but Christian husbands are morally obligated not to beat their wives when they disobey them.

This creates a problem when it comes to the law—should beating your wives be legal or illegal? A cultural relativist would say that this, along with many other issues, should be up to one to decide for themselves and there should be no law, but in order for there to be some sense of direction there must be law. Another example is that if cultural relativist were running America, we wouldn’t be at war with Iraq because they consider 9/11 just as much America’s fault as it was the terrorists fault simply because it was a difference in culture.

This draws me to the conclusion that if cultural relativism is a precise characterization of morality, then we cannot pass judgments on other cultures, but we can pass judgments on other cultures; therefore, cultural relativism is not a precise characterization of morality. Also, some religious groups like Christians see differences in culture as a lovely thing and they believe that diversity in food, clothing, and language should be preserved and valued.

However, they believe that because of sin, not all views and actions within a culture are righteous and therefore those practices are indeed wrong. Conclusion There will never come a day when all cultures view each other as equal, and therefore I believe cultural relativism should not be held as a superior form of moral thinking. Cultural Relativism should indeed be considered and thought about for there is no way to say that one culture is better than the other, but on some grounds there will be a definitive right and wrong between certain cultural practices.

Some native cultures still believe in human sacrifice as something of value and importance, but in modern America any person who strongly condones this and/or practices this is considered demented and immoral. Cultural relativism is not the way of the world because truth is not objective; I believe there is a higher power, which constitutes that it eventually will come down to a right or wrong and good or bad because there is absolute law that tells you such things.

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