Textbook Notes (368,430)
United States (206,037)
PHI 192 (3)


4 Pages
Unlock Document

PHI 192
Ben Bradley

Harry Gensler Reading Cultural Relativism Intro: • Cultural relativism: the view that social approval is the ultimate measure of morality o Those acts approved by society are good o Those acts frowned upon are bad • Cultural relativists believe: o Morality is like law or other social conventions; what is legal in one society may not be in another o Morality varies from society to society o There are no objective moral standards that apply to all people at all times o Right and wrong depends entirely on the customs that have arisen in different societies • Gensler argues that relativism is deeply problematic for 4 main reasons: o 1) relativism cannot allow for consistent disagreement with one’s own social code  So long as society can make moral mistakes, then its approval is not enough to show that something is morally good o 2) relativism is a very poor basis for defending tolerance  Some societies favor intolerance, therefore intolerance is a good thing in those societies o 3) Relativism is a counsel of conformity  One must be uncritical of the norms, because they are always correct o 4) Relativism offers us poor advice about what to do for members of subcultures situated in large groups  What happens when the norms of two groups a person is a part of conflict? Article: Ima Relativist • When someone says “infanticide is wrong” then that means that person’s society disapproves of it • There are no objective truths about right or wrong • Wrongness is defined by society o Something cannot be defined as simply wrong o Something can only be defined as wrong in this or that society o Infanticide is wrong vs. infanticide is wrong in this society • People who say that right or wrong are absolutes are just absolutizing their own society’s beliefs Objections to Cultural Relativism • Biggest problem: CR forces us to conform to society’s norms, or else we contradict ourselves o If “good” and “socially approved” mean the same thing, then whatever was one would have to be the other o So this reasoning would be valid:  Such and such is socially approved. Therefore such and such is good. o We can consistently disagree with the values of our society  We can consistently affirm that something is “socially approved” yet deny that it is “good” o CR is intolerant of minority views which are always defined as wrong Moral Diversity • CR sees the world as neatly divided into distinct societies when in reality the world
More Less

Related notes for PHI 192

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.