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Cultural Relativism

Essay by   •  November 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  328 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,535 Views

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The concept behind ethical relativism states that ethical rules are not concrete for all societies and times, but are connected to the standards of individual societies and time periods. I disagree with this theory because societies should be judged by their moral beliefs on the foundations that time doesn't change what is morally right and wrong and there should be more emphasis based on the individual rights as opposed to respecting the morals of that individual's society.

Allowing ourselves, as a society, to say that a time or a location makes any ethical belief or theory practiced by the people of that time and place right and that it should be respected by people of other cultures is ignorant. There are a set of rights all human beings should enjoy no matter the where they are located or what time period they are in, and those cultures that violate these rights shouldn't be embraced for being different but be ashamed for not recognizing the basic rights of the individual. Ethical relativism places more importance on the society and not enough on the individuals of that society. Societies should be judged by their moral beliefs because time and place doesn't change what is right and wrong and more emphasis should be put onto the individual rather than to the society. Ethical relativism contradicts the point of ethical theory in that there are no universal standards therefore no action is moral, and vice versa no action is immoral.

The three significant criticisms made against ethical relativism are that it actually contradicts itself. Bedsides the general fairness of relativism, critics say it damages morality, which could create a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by an absence of social values. Ultimately, morality is universal. While the application of ethics may be different between societies, the basis for moral behavior seems to be common for all. The concept of universal human rights seems to explain the meaning of level of morality.

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