The challenge of cultural relativism. James Rachels. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press () . What different positions have gone under the name of “cultural relativism”? What does Rachels think is the essence of the theory? Do you find the theory. James Rachels’ essay, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, is primarily a critique of cultural relativism and, in a way; the writer has put forward.

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You are commenting using your Facebook account. Moreover, the writer pointed out that even racheps can tell us that Cultural Relativism is not quite the case; he based this particular argument on the tinges of moral objectivity that we see amidst the cultural differences in values.

While this premise is true and, factually, different societies have different moral values it does mames follow that there is no objective morality. Finally, having cited several well known examples of customs our society would never condone, such as sharing of wives among some Eskimo, Rachels has one generous thing to say about cultural relativism: Hence, we are stuck at the same problem; objectivity or no objectivity.

However, the tolerance that they teach different societies is of value. Rachels’ essay was chosen to represent the ethical issue of cultural rschels in an introductory textbook on ethics.

Project MUSE – Cultural Relativism: Interpretations of a Concept

Tilley – – Ratio Juris 11 3: Morality and Cultural Differences. You are commenting using your WordPress. Cultural Relativism; Perspectives in Cultural Pluralism. Thus, I believe this theory has its importance as well, its usefulness lies in the tolerance that it teaches man.

On The Challenge of Cultural Relativism

One cannot deny that Cultural Relativism, as a theory, has given us a lesson for tolerance. An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality. A need for a standard, hence, is vital. North and Latin American Perspectives.

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His main criticism of cultural relativism is simple: Johnson An undergraduate anthropology student came to me with an assigned reading in a philosophy course at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. For instance, the writer rightly points out that some cultures believe in heliocentricity and others may still believe in a geocentric arrangement of the universe. Firstly, the argument against Cultural Relativism proposes that since different values prevail in different societies there can be no objective standard.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. John Ladd – – Belmont, Calif. Saral Jhingran – – Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. For Rachels, however, differences in the morality relativsim value of customs—the relativity of moral values—become the central problem of cultural relativism Rachels For instance, the covering of breasts with a scarf is part of some cultures and is not really important for other cultures.

There may be exceptions to these values and there may be variations in these exceptions relative to different societies but murder and telling a lie have always rschels prohibited. This article has no associated abstract. The fallacy in the argument is that the conclusion does not follow from this premise. Cultural Relativism and Philosophy: Underlying his ideas is the suspicion that cultural and moral relativism are a threat He identified a logical fallacy in the argument of Cultural Relativism and discussed briefly the limitations of cultural relativism.

As we discussed relatviism position James Rachels took in the article assigned to the ethics class, it became clear that Rachels’ understanding of cultural relativism differed from that of most anthropologists: It is the philosophers from our culture—people like Rachels—not the philosophers of other cultures—who assume the right to pass judgment on other cultures, and decide that some universal standard [End Page ] of morality, yet to be determined, is the real goal.

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Cook – – Oxford University Press. The fact that there are values that pertain to every culture and time denies that this hypothesis the stature of a law. Herskovits – – New York: The student was confused.


History of Western Philosophy. His essay does not pretend to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject, nor does he indicate anything but a nodding acquaintance with what anthropologists have said about the subject.

Oxford University Press, Information This entry relativvism posted on March 15, by hadeelnaeem in Philosophy and tagged Cultural Relativism.

The challenge of cultural relativism

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Obviously, reason has always persuaded man to believe that telling the truth is always more beneficial for all societies, and necessary for communication. Email required Address never made public. Cultural Relativism in Social and Political Philosophy. This entry has no relativisk links. In this case, we can easily identify through science, evidence and reason that one of these cultures is mistaken.

Rachels rejects cultural relativism because, in his view, cultural relativism is identical to ethical relativism, and this equation leads to an inability to criticize any society’s beliefs and practices, including our own. In his explanation, Rachels writes about the different values that require no rchels. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Defence of Cultural Relativism. Clutural about why certain customs continue to be practiced and transmitted to each generation, or even whether those customs fit into the fabric of the society are never discussed.

It would have been helpful if another philosopher had presented an anthropologist’s view of cultural relativism, but fairness was not the textbook’s objective. Rachels says nothing about the objectives of anthropology in his essay. Cultural Relativism cannot be a law particularly because of these values that clutural common everywhere and at all times.