The increasing exchange of ideas and international commerce has also introduced new questions concerning the legitimacy of cultural relativism in justifying acceptance of behaviors and practices in other societies that may be regarded as inappropriate, aberrant and even life-threatening. To determine the facts, this paper reviews the relevant literature including essays by Ruth Benedict and James Rachels concerning moral relativism to identify arguments for and against cultural relativism, followed by a summary of the research and important findings concerning these issues in the conclusion. Likewise, the contextual nature of cultural relativism are described by Perusek thusly: According to Benedict, every society is the result of an infinite number of influences that affect the contemporary outcome in ways that differ geographically and temporally.
Gordon Hemsley Gordon P. Hemsley Long Paper Prof. Abu Rizvi December 6, HCOL A Cultural and ethical relativism are two widespread theories that are used to explain the differences among cultures and their ethics and morals.
The two similar theories describe the moral, ethical, and societal differences that diverse cultures experience.
James Rachels summarizes the former theory into one brief statement: When the two theories are combined, they form a complete theory that some anthropologists and philosophers apply to cultures to describe rituals and actions that differ among them.
However, Rachels does not subscribe to the theory of cultural relativism. Instead, he believes that all cultures have some values in common—that there is less disagreement among cultures than it seems. Benedict has the opposing viewpoint that the morals and ethics of cultures are, in fact, relative.
Rather than having a strict set of universal rules that govern the morality of different cultures, Benedict argues that many cultures are at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to specific areas of culture and lifestyle.
Certain aspects of cultures simply cannot be unified under one universal moral code that governs Benedict cultural relativism essay of the human race. Both Rachels and Benedict use a plethora of examples to support their analyses.
While seen in isolation, each would appear to be correct. Rachels misses the point when it comes to what morals and other characteristics are universal across all cultures. Benedict does not take into account the points that Rachels addresses about the similarities among cultures.
Cultural relativism does, in fact, exist—but not to the extent that Benedict might predict, nor to the extent that Rachels has denied its existence. In his book, Elements of Moral Philosophy, James Rachels argues that cultural relativism 1 is not the correct explanation for the differences among cultures.
To support his argument, he uses multiple examples.
One such situation is about the proper way to dispose of the dead: Neither group felt the other was correct. Another situation addresses the Eskimo practice of infanticide.
According to Rachels, Eskimo mothers often kill their female babies after birth, without social stigma being attached to the action. The Eskimos are a nomadic tribe whose males are often killed during hunting or from the cold. Therefore, killing female babies at birth helps to keep the population from becoming skewed overwhelmingly female, and helps to reduce the burden on the family during travel.
Using these two examples, Rachels comes up with two general arguments that cultural relativism uses: Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions vary from culture to culture.
In the first example, Rachels argues that, according to cultural relativism, because there is a disagreement between the two cultures, this leads to the conclusion that there could not possibly be a true objectively right procedure for disposing of the dead. Similarly, at face value, many in the United States may feel that Eskimo infanticide is morally abhorrent, Rachels argues that it is actually quite logical.
In the second example, he states that cultural relativism supports the notion that because there are differing opinions on the morality of infanticide, that there is again no true objectively moral action with regard to killing babies.
Rachels translates cultural relativism into the fact moral ethics are not universal—they are simply a matter of opinion that differs from culture to culture.
Rachels uses another example to support his argument: Rachels argues that cultural relativism would continue to support the notion that, because there is a difference of a opinion, there cannot be one truly correct belief. However, it is clear in this case that one is arguing 2 scientific fact, rather than a possible difference of opinion or a specific code of conduct.
Rachels uses that concept to make three conclusions regarding cultural relativism.
The first conclusion is that a member of one culture would not be able to consider any other cultures inferior to their own, as it would not be true—they are simply all different. The third conclusion is that the idea of moral progress would be called into doubt, meaning that a culture could not evolve to become even more moral than it once was—as, again, they could never be considered morally wrong by another culture in the first place.
Ruth Benedict essaysThe explorations into the enculturation of human beings and its numerous variations have molded the groundwork of anthropology. A field so entrenched in the comparative study of human societies and cultures, anthropology has facilitated the . Ruth benedict cultural relativism essays. Fraternization army essays my cultural identity essay infatuation vs love essay for her boumediene v bush analysis essay merleau ponty essay on cezanne hair slavery in the civil war essays legal drinking age 18 essay about myself. This position is ethical relativism, the idea that moral goodness is to be equated with cultural norms. Melville Herskovits defends Benedict's position. Herskovits defends relativism on the grounds that it is an antidote to ethnocentrism, which has led Europeans and Americans to behave with intolerance toward cultures with different values.
Benedict supports the notion that the morals, ethics, and actions of different cultures of people are simply the result of many years of cultural evolution, through accidental isolation of and contact with other cultures.
According to Benedict, all cultures and their people start out with a persuasion in one direction of moral standards. As time goes on, certain actions begin to become congenial, and others, uncongenial.Ruth Benedict also had an interesting take on Moral Relativism, contending that there was in fact no such thing as morals, but simply that what we perceive to but moral guidelines are simply cultural guidelines.
Ruth benedict cultural relativism essays. Fraternization army essays my cultural identity essay infatuation vs love essay for her boumediene v bush analysis essay merleau ponty essay on cezanne hair slavery in the civil war essays legal drinking age 18 essay about myself.
Moral relativism is often equated with cultural relativism. However, anthropologists cringe at this notion, as defended by Thomas Johnson in his essay, “Cultural Relativism: Interpretations of a Concept. Essay Lying to Patients and Ethical Relativism I.
Lying to Patients and Ethical Relativism Ethical Relativism and Ethical Subjectivism Ethical Relativism - theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one's culture. To determine the facts, this paper reviews the relevant literature including essays by Ruth Benedict and James Rachels concerning moral relativism to identify arguments for and against cultural relativism, followed by a summary of the research and important findings concerning these issues in the conclusion.
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You can remember the term relativism by thinking about how Benedict considers cultural values as relative to the particular situation. She . To determine the facts, this paper reviews the relevant literature including essays by Ruth Benedict and James Rachels concerning moral relativism to identify arguments for and against cultural relativism, followed by a summary of the research and important findings concerning these issues in the conclusion. Ruth Benedict also had an interesting take on Moral Relativism, contending that there was in fact no such thing as morals, but simply that what we perceive to but moral guidelines are simply cultural guidelines.
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