Phil Essay

774 words - 4 pages

“The Challenge of Cultural Relativism” was written by James Rachels. He is an American philosopher and he was specialized in animal rights and ethics. In this writing, he mainly talks about the cultural and human’s morals.
First he talks about every single culture have different moral codes. They all have different ways to worship, rituals, celebrations and rules so “what is thought right within one group may be utterly abhorrent to the members of another group, and vice versa.” and that is also what makes each culture so unique. Rachels gives an example about the Eskimo which states that “the men often had more than one wife, and they would share their wives with guests, lending them for the night as a sign of hospitality” and “within a community, a dominant male might demand and get regular sexual access to other men’s wives”. But in countries like Japan, it is a common sense to be with one wife and not to mess with other’s wives, so how we look at things are really different based on your culture. What is right or wrong was just simply passed down from our ancestors so people now could not really choose it.
Cultural Relativism says that “there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics; there are only the various cultural codes, and nothing more” and this challenges our ordinary belief in the objectivity and universality of moral truth. Cultural relativism also states that “different societies have different moral codes”, “there is no objective standard that can be used to judge one societal code better than another” and “the moral code of a society determines what is right within that society” etc.
After James Rachels explains about the cultural relativism, he states that “when we analyze cultural relativism we find that it is not so plausible as it first appears to be” and shows his ideas about it. When we put the ideas of cultural relativism into premise, it actually turns out that even if the premise if true, the conclusion still might be false. Premise shows that people “believe”, but for the conclusion, we want to know “what really is the case”. Sometimes the premise and the conclusion do not...

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