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Cultural

Relativism
Apostol, Annaliza A.
Cultural Relativism
• is the ability to understand a
culture on its own terms and not
to make judgements using the
standards of own culture.

• no culture is superior than


another culture when compared
to sytems of morality, law,
politics, etc.
Cultural Relativism
•Originating in the work
of Franz Boaz in the
early 20th century, which
it greatly influenced
social sciences such as
anthropology.
Claims of Cultural Relativist
1. Different societies have
different moral codes
-but also have shared values
-reasons why they have
different moral codes has to do
with factors not concerning
morality, religious beliefs,
beliefs
Claims of Cultural Relativist
2. The moral code of society
determines what is right within
that societies.
-this means that societies are
more dependable.
-it also means that if you
believe something to be true
then it is true.
Claims of Cultural Relativist

3. There is no objective
standard that can be used
to judge one society’s
standards better than
another.
Claims of Cultural Relativist
4. The moral code of our
society offers nothing
special.
-our society and culture
might be morally inferior to
many and we can learn
great deal from other
societies.
Claims of Cultural Relativist

5. It is arrogant to judge
other cultures. We should
be tolerant of them.
-Moral judgement can be
limited to specific
practices.
Cultural Difference Argument
• Different cultures have different moral
codes
• Therefore there are no objective truth
in morality. Right or wrong are only
matters of opinion , and opinions vary
from culture to culture.
Example:
Society A” believes the world is flat and
Society B believes the world is round”
Consequence of Accepting
Cultural Relativism
1.All customs of all
cultures are morally
equal.
There certainly are
practices around the world
that are horrific (e.g.,
political oppression).
Consequence of Accepting
Cultural Relativism
2. We cannot critique our
own customs.
Our own society can have
no immoral practices ; what is
ethically right is what a culture
accepts as custom, therefore,
we can never critique any
customs as morally corrupt.
Consequence of Accepting
Cultural Relativism
3. There can be no
moral progress.
If cultural relativism
is correct, then the
concept of social reform
is impossible.
What can we learn from
Cultural Relativism
• Warns us about the danger of
assuming that all preferences
are based on absolute rational
standard.
• Keep us open minded
regarding the practices of
both our culture and culture
of other societies.

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