Cultural Relativism Essay

907 Words4 Pages
Some people believe that culture is a way that morality can be established, but morality differs from culture to culture. In Doing Ethics, Lewis Vaughn talks about cultural relativism and lays out an argument for it. In the second premise it states “If people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, then right and wrong are relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles” (Vaughn 26). He makes it clear that he does not support this premise and explains his points as to why this is false. Cultural relativism is the idea that the moral principles someone has are solely determined by the culture one lives in. These ideas seem to make sense because we as a culture understand that the judgments people make in a different culture will differ from ours whether we choose to support it or not. Our culture has different moral judgments as well and does not look at something like killing someone for stealing as morally right since our culture values human life above theft. Cultural relativism does not exist because some principles are universal and not relative only to culture. People also have the ability to think morally for themselves so morality is relative to someone’s point of view. The main point favoring the cultural relativism argument is that if there are no moral principles, then the principles can only be relative to culture. If someone were to express their opinion about the morals of a culture that they didn’t agree with, including what the culture already believed to be right, then that person would lose the argument without any question. This can be easily disproved because in one culture, not every person is going to have the same moral judgments about what is right or wrong and people can establish objective moral principles. A culture also can’t think of them as having the power to decide which is right and
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