Cultural Relativism Essay

1104 Words Dec 1st, 2011 5 Pages
Is cultural relativism good for our society?

Cultural relativism is a belief where there are no absolute moral views or beliefs can be apply to all cultures, which makes “right” and “wrong” different in every society; what is considered “right” in one society may be considered “wrong” in another. Since no universal standard of morality exists, no one has the right to judge another society’s customs. If this belief is held true, then every culture will have their own set of “rules” to live by and no one can judge on, even they are doing things that are abnormal in this world, because in that particular group the action will be viewed as perfectly normal. This creates a situation where no person regardless of his or her authority in
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Back to the example of slavery, prohibiting slavery will not be seen as progress because the society at that time is very different from present-day society, slavery is considered to be normal during that period. If we think prohibiting slavery is a progress, then we are saying that nowadays society is better, but by the definition of cultural relativism, it is not allowed because one is not supposed to make any judgment and there is no specific standard of what is considered to be better.

Although cultural relativism is not a good philosophy to guide the interactions among individuals and culture, but it also has some good ideas that we apply on our society. One of the ideas in cultural relativism is keeping an opened mind on everything. When human is growing up, one learns what is right and what is wrong from parents, friends, teachers, etc. As time goes by, one may find their belief being challenged when one meets someone that holds ideas totally different. In James Rachels’ essay, he gave an example that because we learned homosexuality is “bad” since we are little and have this idea carved in our heart for so long, when we meet someone that thinks there is nothing bad about homosexuality, we may find it hard to accept it. If cultural relativism really exists, then prejudice and racism will not exist in this world because

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