James Rachels "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism"
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Exactly what is a 'relativism argument'? Are there any consequences of relativism? and is there a right or wrong to it?
I have tried to analyze and summarize the article, I need to know if I am understanding it correctly and if there are areas I should elaborate on.
The piece I read talked abut how different cultures have different moral codes. ie. the Greeks ate the bodies of their dead and the Callatians burned theirs. Cultural relativism seems to just be that, you judge others based on what your culture deems right, using it as a method of comparison. The cultural differences argument - seems to be based on what people believe and that everything is subjective. The consequences of taking cultural relativism seriously but how can I understand this when it then says that Cultural relativism implies judgments and the argument cannot be right? Why there is less disagreement that it seems implies to me that other cultures/people are afraid to interfere. How all cultures have some values in common - implies to me that all societies have to have moral rules for the society to exist. Judging a cultural practice to be undesirable, such in the case of the Muslim girl who's mother and sister sent her to America for Asylum so she would not have female circumcision, here it seems to me that when someone from another culture did not want to par take in her cultural ritual our society was initially up in arms. Is there a Culture-Neutral of Right and Wrong? I am left feeling that with this topic I am to answer that it is all subjective to the culture analyzing it. What can be learned from cultural relativism? first it's noted as that it rests on invalid arguments, and that this Cultural Relativism warns us of the danger of assuming that all preferences are based on some rational standard, keeping an open minds.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com March 6, 2023, 12:50 pm ad1c9bdddf
I studied this article in business ethics. Here is what I can tell you about the article and my thoughts on it:
First, cultural relativism is bound by beliefs and not by values. Many cultures may have the same values but not the same belief.
For example the statement, "adults should never sexually molest children," is a universal Truth. First it has to be established that all cultures that exist in the form of society have some universal values. For example, murder is not allowed in any culture because a society is based on a trust between members not to kill each other and thus is a pre-requisite for a society to exist. In a society where murder was allowed, groups would band together making a contract with each other not to harm one another thus forming a society where murder is not allowed as the fundamental value or otherwise there couldn't be a society. The same kind of idea goes for truth telling, since excommunication is needed for a society to exist, it is a Universal value. Societies then form cultures from which different beliefs may stem but the Universal values stay the same.
The beliefs and the value of a culture are however not the same thing. Take India, where there are places where rats are allowed to roam free in a place of religious practice. Instead of trying to exterminate them, however, they are fed and ...