The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism: The Elements Of Moral Philosophy.

1590 words - 6 pages

Consequentialism is a moral theory which is founded on the premise that an action is morally right if the outcomes of such actions maximize the good and minimize the bad. In contrast, Non-consequentialism is derived from the premise that some actions are inherently right or wrong. As these theories can derive either identical or varied conclusions in morally ambiguous situations, the conclusions in themselves, while important, can not be considered evidence for the theory’s value. Hence, as we can only judge a theories value by its premise, I will argue that consequentialism is derived from a sound premise, while non-consequentialism is based on an unfounded assertion.

Before we consider specific situations, it is important to understand fully the stance of non-consequentialism and consequentialism. Non-consequentialism suggests that there are certain actions that are inherently wrong, and should always be prohibited, regardless of situational consequences. These prohibitions take the form of uncompromising rules, such as ‘do not steal’, ‘do not lie’, ‘do not break promises’ and ‘do not murder innocent people’. I will refer to this set of rules as principles.

Consequentialism, by definition, rejects the notion that these principles are inherently right. The action the consequentialist considers ‘right’, is the one whose outcome will maximize the good, and minimize the bad. A judicious consequentialist would not only consider immediate or obvious outcomes, but also broad or long-term consequences such as the future well-being of society.

Disparity between these moral theories means that what is considered the right action varies in situations, such as Bernard William’s thought experiment ‘Jim and the Indians’ . A non-consequentialist would argue from the premise that some actions are wrong and unwaveringly prohibited. As the murder of an innocent person is such an action, it follows that the moral response for Jim is to not accept Pedro’s proposition. A non-consequentialist would reason that regardless of the death of 19 Indians, Jim has made the best moral choice and it is Pedro who had made an immoral decision.

Emmanuel Kant, a non-consequentialist philosopher, would argue this in terms of ‘perfect duties’, which are actions we are bound to perform, and ‘imperfect duties’, which are actions we are obligated to perform only if we do not break a perfect duty in doing so. It would be said in this case that to not kill an innocent person is a perfect duty, but to keep a person from dying is an imperfect duty, and hence while we are compelled to not allow death, we are bound first to not kill.

Conversely, a consequentialist would regard this decision as highly immoral as it allows 19 people to unnecessarily die. From the premise ‘the right action is that which minimizes the bad’, the consequentialist is seemingly bound to sacrifice one life, minimizing possible death. Consider though a slight variation of this case, in which...

Find Another Essay On The Challenge of Cultural Relativism: The Elements of Moral Philosophy.

The Development Of Epistemic Relativism Versus Social Relativism

1598 words - 6 pages , Vocaloid, which promote love for the idea of living with and in the non-realistic objects and world. So, not only America, but most of the world is well versed in some way or another in the art of hyperreality. There is often resistance to these ideals of relativism and epistemic relativism. In Relativism, John S. Drummond, the co-founder of the International Philosophy of Nursing Society, examines both moral and epistemological relativism. He states

Understand the meaning of Anthropology, European colonialism, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism

710 words - 3 pages According to Keesing et al, Anthropology is described as the study of human beings relating to their physical and cultural behaviours. This is the term used to illustrate the time when European Anthropologists went out of Europe to the colonies in order to observe and describe the particularity of non European countries, attending to their traditional culture forms or their subjection to modern social change. For example, John Owen who was born

The Challenge of Diversity

2248 words - 9 pages When America was founded, it was based on freedom and equality for all people, at first religious freedom, but eventually freedom of speech, press, petition, and more. In time, America began to be known as a “melting pot” of cultures as more and more people came because they wanted this freedom; the more people who came though, the more problems America had. There were too many cultural differences between people, and eventually America, the

The Value of Cultural Relativism: Comparing Peace Corp Volunteer Floyd Sandford’s African Odyssey and Anthropologist Richard Lee’s Dobe Ju/’hoansi

1844 words - 7 pages Even a student that has been educated for only four weeks in anthropology can admit that their viewpoint has changed since acquiring their knowledge. Studying a foreign way of life and unfamiliar customs sheds light on the impact that one’s own culture has on their thoughts. Anthropology is valuable because has the ability to remove the shock and misunderstanding that occurs when examining an alien worldview. The value of cultural relativism

Hamlet the challenge of reveng

532 words - 2 pages In the play "Hmalet" Shakespeare uses the revenge to be the main point in the play. Obviusly Hamlet is the one needs to revenge for Old Hmalet. There also Laertes and Fortainbras' revenge for their father, but all of them have different response or action for the revenge. there are three types of individual facing challenge: passive, enthusiasm and no self-opinion.Revenge for one's father is son's responsibity. Hamlet sees the revenge as an

cultrual cultural deprivation the hispanic challenge

706 words - 3 pages Cultural Deprivation: The Hispanic Challenge      Why do some groups not succeed in academic settings? One theory brought up in “Understanding inequality” suggests that the gap in the socioeconomic status drives the inequalities in the school system. The low and working class have less time and income to intervene with schooling. This means they have less time to meet with teachers, hire tutors, and provide continuous

Elements Of The Rosary

566 words - 2 pages devotion the findings of scholars are especially rich, and certain elements, universally present, make a very rich and varied pattern. From the days of the early Church right through the Middle Ages men and women were at work finding ways of prayer. Much of the thought and fancy that today are employed (in so far as they exist at all) on novels, movies and love songs, were thrown into the worship of God, into the perfect- ing of liturgical

Moral Philosophy of Global Peace

3441 words - 14 pages Moral Philosophy of Global Peace ABSTRACT: Global Peace is the summum bonum, so we must know its negative as well as positive meanings. Simultaneously peace must be understood in all its interrelated but theoretically differentiated dimensions as personal, social, national, international and global. Today, humankind is suffering from multidimensional crises such as terrorism, population-explosion, denial of human rights, economic inequality

Journal Review - Incoherence of the moral "ought", an analysis of a paper by Elizabeth Anscombe entitled, 'Modern Moral Philosophy.'

642 words - 3 pages The Incoherence of the Moral 'Ought,' a journal article by Duncan Richter, is an analysis of a paper by Elizabeth Anscombe entitled, 'Modern Moral Philosophy.' In this analysis, Mr. Richter is only concerned about Anscombe's second thesis, which states as follows:The concepts of moral obligation and moral duty (what is morally right and morally wrong, and the moral sense of 'ought,' ought to be jettisoned if this is psychologically possible

The Challenge of Globalization & The Greater Good

1172 words - 5 pages KAWING LAMThe Challenge of Globalization & The Greater GoodGlobalization is the cause of increasing the interdependence and integration in our globe with respect to the social, cultural, economic, political, technologies, and religions etc. It is a process of interaction and integration through the people, social, cultural, companies, and governments of different nations. The most well-known reasons are the international trades and

The case study of “The challenge”

1449 words - 6 pages The case study of "The challenge"The case study of "The challenge"In the business world it is usually said that executives from within the ranks know the challenges and politics of a company, while newcomers face a corporate minefield. Dan Ciampa and Michael Watkins write in their book "Right from the start" that "Leadership is never easy" and that "This is never truer than when a new leader enters an organization from the outside and must

Similar Essays

Cultural Relativism Of Philosophy: . Essay

1470 words - 6 pages Cultural Relativism and Human RightsCultures with their morals differ from each other across the world and with that indifference comes a conflict about which morals are right. James Rachels challenges the idea of cultural relativism. In this paper I review Benedicts concept and compare it to Rachels challenge, offering my reasoning for disagreement as well.The Cultural Relativism theory puts forth the idea that what is morally right, is

What Exactly Is Cultural Relativism In Metaethics? Is Cultural Relativism True? Can Cultural Relativists Uphold The Principle Of Cultural Tolerance?

2125 words - 9 pages . Zalta (ed.). [Online] Available.URL =·Rachels, James. "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" PHIL1016: Mind and Morality. University of Sydney, 2001.·Sayre-McCord, Geoff. "Metaethics" The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.23 January 2007. [Online] AvailableURL =·PHIL 1016: Mind and Morality Lecture Notes:10

"What Exactly Is "Cultural Relativism" In Metaethics? Is Cultural Relatisim True? Can Cultural Relativists Uphold The Principle Of Cultural Tolerance?

2380 words - 10 pages Cultural relativism is one of many alternatives within the domain of metaethics, a theory relating to moral judgments and whether they are truth-apt (capable of being true or false). This theory is supported by Ruth Benedict as she argues that normality is relative to culture, to be morally "good" tantamount with normal, so therefore morality is relative to culture. However her statement that normality is synonymous with being morally good is

The Moral Philosophy Of John Stuart Mill

1124 words - 4 pages At the very heart of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism is a concern which can be traced back to the Biblical parable of the house built on sand - an improper foundation. With this in mind, Mill audaciously sets out to develop a "foundational program" of morality, one that incorporates a principle that can be the basis for all other moral thinking. To find this foundational principle, the naturalistic Mill examines the common, fundamental beliefs