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Cultural Relativism. Is It Correct?
Many have argued on whether or not the term “cultural relativism” is correct. In this paper, I will be explaining my argument to readers on why I stand with my belief that it is indeed correct. Over the years a countless amount of people debated on it, stating that cultural relativism is simply acceptable because “all cultural views are equally valid.” To some extent, I do believe that views are disagreed upon within various cultures as being morally right or wrong, but it is understandable when different cultures take upon that decision based on what they have raised around and taught by their own kind. As this paper continues, I will get more in depth with my own thoughts toward specific arguments made against cultural relativism and why I will stand by my claim that it is correct.
In ethical relativism, cultural relativists argue that correct moral standards are decided by each culture or society (SL, p. 291), while ethical subjectivists (believers of ethical subjectivism) claim that each individual decides which moral standards are correct (SL, p. 291). My views agree with cultural relativists because you cannot control what every different culture educates and ways they up-bring their young. Globally, it is impossible for all people around the world to agree on what is morally right and wrong because cultures vary in beliefs based on their ancestors’ history. I argue that the globe is so large in size with so many different types of views that it is logically impossible to get everyone on the “same page” of beliefs such as ethical subjectivists would maybe suppose.
In terms of different cultural views, one culture may believe something is wrong while another will believe that the same act is right for the example of it being an obstacle in life or some sort. This is why I state that cultural relativism is correct because every culture has their own views on the way life is supposed to be lived. An example of a disagreement between cultures would be how the Greek believe it is morally acceptable or correct to attend the beach nude and without clothes, while the Muslim culture would disagree and believe that women need to be covered and refrain from showing skin in public.
It has been said that cultural relativism contradicts itself, such as the example of Landau asserting that many individuals can live in multiple societies simultaneously (SL, p. 301). Since cultural relativists do not allow for individuals to exist in multiple societies, this creates a flawed argument against the views of ethical subjectivists. Although this contradiction takes place, at the end of the day I believe that the logical way to understand cultural relativism is by seeing that it falls into the fact that views are originally decided based on what is accepted or denied to being morally right by that specific culture.
I see that cultural relativism refers to the establishment of one culture’s own logic. Since it is also argued that cultural relativism cannot overcome the boundaries of true logic to mankind as a whole, the argument cultural relativists make is that their own culture makes the acceptable logic. Another way to explain this would be to say that every society makes their own rules, which is true. In the example, our own society here in the United States of America creates its own set of laws which defines and breaks down what is morally right from wrong in the method of law-abiding. Within our culture or society, as people mention it, there are subcultures which have some different (disapproving) beliefs. These are often against what the majority of our society believes in and is what leads to the eruption of protests in our nation. The bottom line to our American views is in the laws that our government made for our citizens to follow.
Cultural relativism overall is viewed as no culture is superior to any other in terms of what they believe in. This may refer to systems of law, morality, or even politics. In other words, this term means that every culture has their own right for what they believe in being morally correct or incorrect. I conclude my argument by stating that after all, products of culture such as views on morality or laws is inevitable.
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