Cultural Relativism Essay

There are an tremendous sum of people in this universe that we live in. All of these people belong to different civilizations and societies. Each society has traits and imposts that make it different from any other. Every society has their ain manner of looking at and covering with certain state of affairss. “Different societies have different moral codes” ( Rachels 618 ) . This claim is known as Cultural Relativism. “Cultural Relativism. as it has been called. challenges our ordinary belief in the objectiveness and catholicity of moral truth. There is no such thing as cosmopolitan truth in moralss: there there are merely the assorted cultural codifications. and nil more. Furthermore. our ain codification has no particular position. it is simply one among many” ( Rachels 618 ) . It is clear that the reply to the inquiry of moralss is. Cultural Relativism.

The topic of slaying is likely the most common issue thought to be an absolute incorrect. This is non ever the instance ; slaying has its topographic point in many civilizations. Eskimo imposts are really different from our ain. “The Eskimos pattern infanticide every bit good as the violent death of seniors. So at that place seemed to be. in this society. unusually small regard for life” ( Rachels 617 ) . We view these imposts as inferior to ours. But when you look at it. this pattern is necessary for the endurance of the of the group. The seniors are excessively old to lend to the group but yet they consume cherished nutrient. The males within the Eskimo groups are looked higher upon because they are the huntsmans and nutrient suppliers.

The violent death of female babies helps maintain the ratio of males and females even. So many males die when there out hunting. If they didn’t kill the female babes so the females would rule the group and they would ne’er hold nutrient. Infanticide and killing of seniors does non intend that Eskimos have less compassion for their kids. nor less regard for human life. they merely know that slaying is sometimes needed to do certain that the Eskimos do non go nonextant.

To go on with the topic of slaying. there are many inquiries about slaying that our ain society faces. Within our ain society there are conflicting positions on subjects such as abortion. capital penalty and. mercy killing. A batch of people consider these to be slaying. to others they are needed in society. This shows that even within our ain society. there is a struggle between what is morally right or incorrect. There is an exclusion to every moral absolute. This eliminates the possibility of Moral Absolutism. and proves there is no cosmopolitan truth. Another ground I believe in cultural relativism is because it helps us out in certain ways. “It can assist alarm us about the effects of thought that our penchants are based on a certain criterion. Most patterns that we follow are unusual to our society. and it easy to free sight on that” ( Rachels 622 ) .

“One illustration of this is funerary patterns. The Callatians. harmonizing to Herodotus. were “men who eat their fathers”–a flooring thought. to us at least” ( Rachels 622 ) . But couldn’t this be looked at as a mark of regard? It can be looked at as they would desire their male parents to be a portion of them for the remainder of their life. have their psyche inside them. The Callatians believed this and is at that place concluding for practising it. Our society would ne’er let this. We would see this as disgusting and morally incorrect. In our civilization we either bury a individual belowground or fire a individual after they die.

“On such a manner of thought. burying the dead can be seen as an act of rejection. and firing the cadaver as positively scornful” ( Rachels 622 ) . Anyone of us would experience an utmost disgust merely believing about eating human flesh. And there is nil anyone could make to do us eat it. But. Possibly this is merely because our society positions eating a human as a moral incorrect. We don’t truly look at the full image.

“People believe in cultural relativism because when your covering with morality. there is no nonsubjective truth. Right and incorrect are lone affairs of sentiment. and sentiments vary from civilization to culture” ( Rachels 618 ) . It is true that in some societies people believe in one thing and in other societies they believe another. With opening our heads. people will happen that our feelings are non needfully the truth. Our emotions will turn into understanding. With the cognition of cultural rites or the imposts of each society. we will be able to accept the different things they do that are different to our ain society. For illustration when we foremost learn that the Callatians eat the organic structures of their dead male parents. people in our society are disgusted and outraged. Then these people learn that “this is done out of regard. and they believe that the Callatians dead father’s spirit will populate indoors them” ( Rachels 622 ) . This gives people who at first are outraged an apprehension of why this act is practiced. Without Cultural Relativism this apprehension could non take topographic point.

“The moral codification of a society determines what is right within that society ; that is if the society says that a certain moral codification is right. at least within that society” ( Rachels 618 ) . Some societies merely have curious patterns. in comparing to our ain. The Eskimos see it to be morally okay to kill the aged and baby misss because they are Acts of the Apostless practiced within their ain society. for endurance.

Looking at another illustration. in some societies they believe that the Earth is level. But in other societies. such as ourselves. we believe the Earth is round. Merely because there is a dissension over the form of the Earth. does that intend there is no right reply? Merely because we believe the Earth is circular doesn’t mean that every society must believe this. “Which shows

that there is no ground why if there is a moral truth. everyone must cognize it” ( Rachels 619 ) .

There are a twosome of effects of cultural relativism. One of them is. ” we could no longer say that the imposts of other societies are morally inferior to our own” ( Rachels 619 ) . This effect is true and is one of the chief statements for cultural relativism. This is merely grounds that proves cultural relativism is the manner to travel. We would hold to halt knocking other civilizations merely because they are diverse.

A 2nd effect that proves true to cultural relativism is. ” we could make up one’s mind whether actions are right or incorrect merely by confer withing the criterions of our society” ( Rachels 619 ) . With cultural relativism. we have an easy manner to cognize if an action is right or incorrect. All we have to make is inquire our society if that action agrees with our moral codification. “Suppose a occupant of South Africa is inquiring whether his country’s policy of apartheid–rigid racial segregation–is morally right. All he has to make is inquire whether this policy conforms to his society’s moral code” ( Rachels 620 ) . This a nice and easy manner to state the difference between right and incorrect. If a certain pattern is incorrect in our society we shouldn’t want to pattern it anyhow. it goes against our society for a ground. This would besides halt us from reprobating our civilization.

Since there is no cosmopolitan truth. there is no concluding why a certain society is better than another. If we all would recognize this it could take to people holding more unfastened heads. We so can see that possibly what we believe in isn’t the right thing and that we merely believe certain things because our civilization tells us to. If we were born as an Eskimo than we wouldn’t see anything incorrect with infanticide or violent death of the seniors. These patterns would be normal for us and they would be culturally right. When person tries to state us that the manner we do things isn’t the right manner we feel a sense of denial due to our upbringings. But if we stop and think about it. we may happen out possibly our ways isn’t the best manner to make things.


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