Culture Relativism states that we cannot absolute say what is right and what is wrong because it all depends in the society we live in. James Rachels however. James Rachels summarizes the former theory into one brief statement: “Different cultures have different moral codes.” (Rachels, 18) Ethical relativism. Cultural Relativism. Morality differs in every society, and is a convenient term for socially approved habits. Ruth Benedict, PATTERNS OF CULTURE ().

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The two similar theories describe the moral, ethical, and societal differences that diverse cultures experience. This relatibism is part of the general custodial duty of parents to help, instruct, and preserve their offspring, a duty addressed by British philosopher, John Locke, more than three hundred years ago in his Second Treatise of Government.

Skip to main content. The fact is that one of the societies may simply be mistaken. James Rachels summarizes the former theory into one brief statement: Re,ativism Center Find new research papers in: While seen in isolation, each would appear to be correct. Log In Sign Up.

Rachels covers the topics and examples of cultural relativism within the central area of the spectrum, while Benedict covers those at the far ends. They may be exempt from prosecution because they have conformed to custom and possibly law. Click here to sign up. 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.

Each culture has its own individual methods to ensure its survival that are not based on any particular tie to the entire human race or its morals, as they are on environmental factors and interactions with other cultures.

Together, the arguments made by both Rachels and Benedict amount to different cultures implementing different moral standards in an attempt to survive as a culture. Morality differs in every society, and is a convenient term for socially approved habits.

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Similarly, there is no reason to think that if there is moral truth everyone must know it. 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.

Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. Here rrachels the argument: Hemsley Long Paper Prof. The ‘right’ way jamfs the way the ancestors used and which has been handed down.

Cultural Relativism | WYSU

Skip to main content. While each culturally-specific ritual may be difficult to understand for other cultures, the culture in which it is followed sees it as indispensable and imperative for survival.

The people there believe that everyone else is using black magic to poison them. In fact, it may be argued that even those cultures that share such a belief do not have any reason to.

Further, in that customs often differ from culture to racbels, so right and wrong differ, and there is no objective, universally applicable moral law. There are some characteristics relqtivism cultures that are not based upon any universal moral code. Not every culture has a reason to believe that their fellow members are out to poison them with black magic.

Rachels uses that concept to make three conclusions regarding cultural relativism. Either way, however, it is hard to find an underlying factor shared by all cultures that would drive that specific culture to hold that specific belief. Using these two examples, Rachels comes up with two general arguments that cultural relativism uses: Cultural relativism does, in fact, exist—but not to the jamds that Benedict might predict, nor to the extent that Rachels has denied its existence.


Quoted by Rachels in Shipka and Minton, p.

Benedict, 36 In one instance, a chief responded to the apparent death of his sister and her daughter by gathering a war party and eventually killing seven men and two children while they were sleeping.

Rachels misses the point when it comes to what morals and other characteristics are universal across all cultures. Along those same lines, it is imperative that the young of the society be cared for so that they may carry it into the future. 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.

Benedict is even more correct in her analysis of the differences among cultures. If a normal member of one culture were to be transplanted into a significantly different culture, they would be considered abnormal in that culture. 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.

Cultural Relativism

Rachels argues that cultural relativism would continue to support the notion that, rellativism there is a difference of a opinion, there cannot be one truly correct belief. It does not, however, indicate a lack of cultural relativism, as the simple need to conduct infanticide in order to survive may be exclusive to the Eskimo culture.

Therefore, it may be arguable that cultural or ethical relativism does not apply to most cultures, only to those on the extremities that Benedict cites.