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cultural relativism

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Philosophy 2070E

EMP Ch 2 Cultural Relativism 2.1 Different Cultures Have Different Moral Codes • Darius King of Persia: Callatains ate the bodies of their dead fathers and the Greeks burned their fathers. Both viewed the actions of the other as atrocious • Eskimos: men often had more than one wife, share wives with guests as a sign of hospitality, women free to break marriage agreements, infanticide was common practice, elderly left to die. • Concepts of right and wrong are different from culture to culture 2.2 Cultural Relativism • To say that a custom is “correct” or “incorrect” would imply that we can judge that custom by some independent standard of right and wrong. No such standard exists. • Some argue that what is “right” is because it is tradition carried down by ancestors. • Cultural relativism challenges the objectivity and universality of moral truth o Different societies have different moral codes  Some values are shared by all cultures  Underlying differences may be due to external factors vs different values o Moral codes of a society determine what is right within that society  is stoning to death of a Nigerian woman who had sex out of wedlock right  lashes for girl gang raped in Saudi since she was alone with someone other than her husband? o There is no objective standard to be used to judge one societies moral code as superior to another’s  Do policies and practice promote or hinder happiness?  The UDHR can be used as a authoritative standard for human rights since countries signed up for it o The moral code of our society has no special status o It is ignorant of us to judge other cultures, we should be tolerant of them  Human societies have done terrible things and it is a mark of society that we can look at those things and put them in the past • But what if the norms of a society favour intolerance? 2.3 Cultural Differences Argument • Different cultures have different moral codes therefore, there is no objective “truth” in morality. Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions vary from culture to culture • This is a false logic, the conclusion does not follow from the premises. This argument is invalid. A thinks David Bowe is a guy, B thinks David Bowe is a girl, therefore David Bowe is neither??? 2.4 What follows from Cultural Relativism? Following from the belief that there
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