Diversity thesis of cultural relativism

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  1. Ethics in the News
  2. Moral relativism
  3. A Critique of Ethical Relativism | Papers at tiedheketun.tk
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But this is incorrect; morality does exist and there is a need for it.


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Pojman criticizes strong extreme cultural relativism. This is a strong thesis. What is considered morally right and wrong varies from society to society, so that there are no universal moral standards held by all societies. Whether or not it is right for an individual to act in a certain way depends on or is relative to the society to which he or she belongs. Therefore, there are no absolute or objective moral standards that apply to all people everywhere and at all times. The diversity thesis is an empirical claim which can be supported by observation.

Ethics in the News

It is not a value judgment. Notice, though, that even if there are some differences between the moral codes of different cultures, it does not follow that there are no universal standards at all. It might be that there are some universal standards which are applied differently in different cultures. The dependency thesis is a theoretical claim about the nature of morality. It is not entailed by the diversity thesis. Morality is relative to the individual. Makes morality a useless concept.

Morality is relative to its culture. There is no independent basis for criticizing the morality of any other culture. Therefore we ought to be tolerant of the moralities of other cultures. Is this a good argument? Here we are told how we should react to other cultures. If the tolerance requirement is supposed to be an objective moral truth, then it is incompatible with cultural relativism, for cultural relativism tells us that there are no objective moral truths. So, the Cultural Relativist who wants to support the tolerance requirement must hold that it is part of our own moral code.

But notice that if it were part of our moral code, then it would actually prohibit us from criticizing other intolerant cultures. If those other cultures are acting in accordance with their own moral codes, then the tolerance requirement tells us that we must tolerate them, even if their behavior is imperialistic.

This is the opposite of what the proponent of 3 wants to say!

James Rachels - Five Claims of Cultural Relativism - Philosophy Core Concepts

Secondly, it is doubtful that the tolerance requirement is part of our moral code. To many people, this may sound like a good result, at first. But now consider some of the customs that would not be morally inferior, according to Cultural Relativism:. It hardly seems enlightened or morally progressive to hold that none of these practices are wrong, but according to Cultural Relativism, are all morally right so long as they are culturally sanctioned.

Speaking of slavery…. From Wikipedia entry on Dahomey :. As one of West Africa's principal slave states, Dahomey became extremely unpopular with neighbouring peoples. Historian Walter Rodney estimates that by c. Most of this money was spent on British-made firearms of very poor quality and industrial-grade alcohol.


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  • A Cultural Critique of Cultural Relativism | SpringerLink!
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  • Relativism.
  • Ethical Relativism - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
  • Dahomey was finally conquered by France in - Most of the troops that fought against Dahomey were native African, and it has been surmised by several historians that neighbouring tribes, particularly the Yoruba , were only too happy to bring about the Kingdom's collapse in favour of liberal French rule.

    This implication is problematic for Cultural Relativism in a couple of ways.

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    Moral relativism

    First, it seems to imply that the phenomenon of moral deliberation --and moral reasoning generally-- is a complete waste of time. Moreover, we can know this just by knowing that they were in the minority and without hearing what they had to say. By contrast, those figures who maintain the moral status quo --whatever that is-- are automatically deemed right by the lights of Cultural Relativism.

    We like to think that, at least in some ways, the moral standards of our society have changed for the better. Most would agree, for example, that the criminalization of slavery in America is an improvement over the 18 th century.

    A Critique of Ethical Relativism | Papers at tiedheketun.tk

    But according to cultural relativism, this is false. Each of these objections can be viewed as a reductio ad absurdum against Cultural Relativism. For example:. Tolerance is, again, one of the crown jewels of American culture. The reason why we believe it is so important to be tolerant is because we are so profoundly aware of our own freedom. We wouldn't want to have our own freedom limited, and this means that we think it would be wrong to limit the freedom of those with whom we disagree.

    We then translate that respect for freedom, a respect which silently streams through our American veins, into a moral relativism. We make the leap from the "Diversity Thesis" again, owing to the fact that we share our neighborhoods and our political leaders with people who don't look like we do, speak like we do, act like we do, and drink like we do to relativism, without recognizing that we cannot go from here to there without something very important -- the "Dependence Thesis. A political presupposition becomes the consequence of a metaethical commitment.

    Let me make this argument in another way: Relativism seems to be obviously true to many people. It also seems obviously true to many of those people, that since what is right for one group isn't right for another group, then we need to be tolerant of everyone. This recognition of moral freedom is the only absolute value that relativists adhere to.

    It shouldn't take much reflection to see the error here. Tolerance is NOT a value of relativism. Perhaps I should say it this way: if you are a relativist, you certainly do not need to be tolerant of other people.

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    Or rather, if you are a relativist, it is not inconsistent with your relativism to be intolerant of those who disagree with you. Again, a relativism does not lead logically to being tolerant of other cultures, and other moral perspectives, and b it always threatens to result in intolerance.

    Full text issues

    If you think that everyone should be tolerant of other opinions and beliefs and practices, then you are not a relativist. Let me take a passage from Louis Pojman's article, "Who's to Judge? If morality simply is relative to each culture then if the culture does not have a principle of tolerance, its members have no obligation to be tolerant From a relativistic point of view there is no more reason to be tolerant than to be intolerant, and neither stance is objectively morally better than the other. Not only do relativists fail to offer a basis for criticizing those who are intolerant, but they cannot rationally criticize anyone who espouses what they might regard as a heinous principle.