Cultural relativism rachels essay

However, Rachels does not subscribe to the theory of cultural relativism. People affected by such barbaric practices do not seem to improve the quality of their lives nor their happiness.

He asks the reader to rethink that which we just processed. After all, if right and wrong are relative to culture, this must be true for our own culture just as much as for other cultures. The fact that there is no measure for societal progress without a standard and no moral value, belonging to any society, can be discouraged, looked down upon or prohibited can be a major problem.

How could a group survive that did not value its young. In some cases the biggest failing of cultural relativism is its tolerance, which is essentially the crux of what cultural relativism is all about.

One such situation is about the proper way to dispose of the dead: Cultural relativism also does not allow you to implement aspects of your own culture in your thinking, irrespective of their positive or negative impact.

In the second example, he states that cultural relativism supports the notion that because there are differing opinions on the morality of infanticide, that there is again no true objectively moral action with regard to killing babies.

All in all, the Eskimo practice was a volatile scheme that bore little resemblance to what we call marriage. Rachels explains that the conclusion does not follow the premise. Benedict has the opposing viewpoint that the morals and ethics of cultures are, in fact, relative.

Therefore, it is an absolute truth and the statement is false. Those who hold to cultural relativism hold that all religious, ethical, aesthetic, and political beliefs are completely relative to the individual within a cultural identity.

Thus there may be less disagreement about values than there appears to be. Rachels translates cultural relativism into the fact moral ethics are not universal—they are simply a matter of opinion that differs from culture to culture.

Cultural Relativism

Rachels seems to draw most, if not all, of his examples in relation to our Western culture, failing to take into account the extreme examples that Benedict uses.

The tolerance people show towards homosexuality is because of Cultural Relativism. It is easy to give additional examples of the same kind. I emphasize this in order to show that the raw data of the anthropologists can be misleading; it can make the differences in values between cultures appear greater than they are.

Benedict, 36 In one instance, a chief responded to the apparent death of his sister and her daughter by gathering a war party and eventually killing seven men and two children while they were sleeping. The "right" way is the way which the ancestors used and which has been handed down.

There is a difference between observing a practice that seems counterintuitive and foolish and one that is harmful or degrading. Or suppose a society was violently anti-Semitic and its leaders set out to destroy the Jews. The conclusion, however, concerns what really is the case. However, it is easy to overestimate the extent of those differences, Often, when we examine what seems to be a dramatic difference, we find that the cultures do not differ nearly as much as it appears.

What is thought right within one group may be utterly abhorrent to the members of another group, and vice versa. Other matters, such as the religions and factual beliefs held by its members, and the physical circumstances in which they must live, are also important.

It is still an open question whether the conclusion is true or false. A code in particular can be one of the best or one of the worse. The moral code of our own society has no special status; it is merely one among many.

Rachels on Cultural Relativism

Rachels introduces a number of considerations that reject Cultural Relativism. Cultural Relativism tells us that there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics, and what does exist is. In the text “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism,” James Rachels breaks down and discusses the theory of Cultural Relativism by presenting the pros and cons of this theory.

He exposes some of the shortcomings of the theory arguing that some of the claims are wrong and contradictory. Mar 30,  · Rachels lists reasons as to why strictly observing Cultural Relativism can be dangerous.

At this point, we have read two extremist opinions and feel no closure to his argument. He concludes his essay by acknowledging the similarities between all.

In this essay, I will discuss James Rachels’ article “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism”, in which he criticizes the normative cultural relativism argument which is about how different cultures have different moral codes, thus there is no single. Without Cultural Relativism this understanding could not take place.

“The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society; that is if the society says that a certain moral code is right, at least within that society” (Rachels ). Mar 15,  · James Rachels’ essay, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, is primarily a critique of cultural relativism and, in a way; the writer has put forward a case for moral objectivity.

He identified a logical fallacy in the argument of Cultural Relativism and discussed briefly the limitations of cultural relativism.

Cultural relativism rachels essay
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Rachels on Cultural Relativism | PHIL