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PHI1101 (119)
Chapter 8

PHI 1101 P - Chapter 8.docx

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Iva Apostolova

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Thinking about Culture, Religion and Tradition • Do cultural value, traditions and religious beliefs conflict with critical thinking? • They need not to buy one has to handle them with extreme caution! • Some examples: Quebec’s tendency toward separatism; Quebec’s language reforms; the presence of Sharia law in Canada. • Culture: shared habits, practices, beliefs and values of a group of people. • Cultural traits aren’t the same as stereotypes! • Stereotype: an oversimplified idea of what a culture or a person is. • Ex: all Canadians are into hockey. • Sub-culture: a smaller group within a culture that has its own specific interests and goals. • Ex: French Canadian sub-culture. • Counter-culture: a relatively small group within a given culture that wants to change society as a whole. • Ex: Canadian anarchist movements. • Tradition: a generally accepted practice handed down from generation to generation. • Ex: breastfeeding. • Tradition isn’t necessarily against progress! • Different traditional practices can be accommodated within one culture. • Ex: if the RCMP officer is a Sikh, he could wear the turban instead of the Stetson. • Religion: a system of beliefs organized around a faith in the existence of a God or Gods. • Religion and morality: similarities and differences. • All major monotheistic religions seem to subscribe to a code of behaviour that we identify as moral (e.g., ‘do not kill’). • However, a religion is governed by a belief in the existence of God(s) which entail certain rituals, and morality doesn’t have to be. • Morality can be governed by reason alone. • Three approaches to culture, religion and tradition. • Relativism: there is no objective standard we can appeal to judge a given culture. • Our judgements, then, are subjective. • So, we can’t criticize a given culture, etc. from the outside. • Positives of relativism: it teaches tolerance and charity. • Negatives of relativism: relativism works well if everyone involved is well intentioned. But what to do if one of the parties is ill intentioned (e.g., the Nazi regime)? • Universalism: there is an objective sta
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