The claim that ethics only expresses cultural values represents an argument for the moral relativism. The moral relativism means “our values are determined by the society we grow up in, and there are no universal values” (Van de Lagemaat, R., 2005, P367), while such a certain society stands for a certain culture. That is to say, “moral values are simply customs or conventions that vary from culture to culture” (Van de Lagemaat, R., 2005, P367). However, is it a suitable method of the moral relativism to decide whether something is ethical? Here is the real life situation.
G.E Moore argued against Ethical Naturalism as he believed that defining concepts such as ‘good’ are impossible and any attempt to define ‘good’ is to commit The Naturalistic Fallacy. The Naturalistic Fallacy is one of the main criticisms of Ethical Naturalism and would therefore suggest that ethical language is not very meaningful as it cannot be correctly defined. Moore believed there are moral properties, so ethical language is not completely devoid of meaning but it is limited as ‘good’ is a non-natural property which cannot be defined. Moore disagreed that ethical language could prove whether something is moral or
Cultural Relativism The theory of cultural relativism suggests that there is no absolute right or wrong. Instead, the morals, beliefs and behaviours that vary throughout different cultures must be taken into consideration. This idea is based on the principle that no one culture can define the basics of living for any or all other cultures. People frequently pass judgment about others based on their own cultural standards, this can result in discrimination, prejudice, hurt and/or injury and is the reason why cultural relativism should be avoided at all costs. Franz Boas an early 20th century scientist, introduced the notion of cultural relativism when, in his early years of work, he realised that bias, prejudice and bigotry was becoming a pandemic amongst many anthropologists.
Questions of the Day Abortion is morally permissible on the grounds that early fetuses, though they are genetically human, are not persons. In Marry Anne Warren’s The Moral Status of Abortion, she offers her views on why abortion is morally permissible. Generally, individuals that advocate that abortion is morally impermissible argue: 1. It is wrong to kill innocent human life. (Premise) 2.
Cultural relativism is a valid moral theory because there are no universal moral truths. Critically Discuss. Cultural Relativism theory takes the position that no objective truth or values can exist for these are distinctive to each society and culture (D’Olimpio, 2013). William Graham Sumner argues that that there are no universal truths in ethics; all ethical norms are relative to cultures (Sommers, 2001). I will now present my argument that cultural relativism is not a valid moral theory.
According to Harris, they are referencing different components of humanity. In ideal U.S. culture, one would not understand these differences. It is important for ethnographers and world travelers to understand these differences in relation to other cultures because other cultures may have multiple words for the essence of a person (individual and self are considered in this essence). According to Grace
In doing this, I hope to provide an evaluation of the weaknesses in the relativist argument, in addition to an exploration of an alternative account of why the IBR has failed to integrate into certain non-Western societies that does not depend on an assertion (radical or non-radical) of relative cultural values. Cultural relativism is the view which advocates for ethical relativism on grounds of cultural differences. Kajit John Bagu defines it as “[t]he notion that a practice, value, norm and law of a society should be understood and appraised by people outside of that society only in that society's terms and standards”1. Human rights, in contrast, are defined within the articles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states in its preamble that it is a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations (...) secur[ing] their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction”. These two notions, at their respective extremes (extremes herein referred to as radical cultural relativism and radical universalism2), are at odds with one another.
That we must recognize. However this in no way suggests we cannot reason about ethics. Rather we should strive for a rational yet relativistic ethic, which emphasizes the exercise of cultivated moral judgment rather than the rote application of extant moral rules. Or so I shall argue I relate to this value system the most because I believe that every culture has a different idea of what they believe is right and wrong. Different religions also have an idea of what is right or wrong.
In other words, what is determined what’s right or wrong of a person’s actions depends on the laws within that society. (Banks 2009) In different cultures, to judge a person on their actions of what is right or wrong varies in a fundamental nature because the norms of each culture varies. In relativism, we cannot criticize individuals of their different cultures, but it means that if an individual‘s actions were wrong or immoral, then we must judge that individual by the guidelines of their culture and not by our own. (Banks 2009) In understanding ethical relativism, relativist’s state that there is moral wrong and right, but state that what is wrong for one individual may be right for another individual. In the study of “death row inmate set free”, in our society norms, the action to murder another individual or to rob a business, that person is arrested for that crime committed, brought before a judge, and then sentenced a punishment from the Judge for breaking that law.
Ethics being that aspect of philosophy which investigates human conducts in so far as such conducts can be said to be right or wrong: it can be defined as the branch of philosophy which deals with the morality of human actions or as a systematic study of the fundamental principles of moral law. Ethics is the discipline while morality is the study. Morality therefore aids us to distinguish those actions that are right from the wrong ones. Most of such actions we grow up to see that people and the society frown at them and also the actions that are morally prudential. In this essay, we will try to answer the question on why we should live a moral life.