Relativism Essay

2308 Words 10 Pages
The year was 1943. Hundreds of Jewish people were being marched into the gas chambers in accordance with Adolf Hitler's orders. In the two years that followed, millions of Jews were killed and only a fraction survived the painful ordeals at the Nazi German prison camps. However, all of the chaos ended as World War II came to a close: the American and British soldiers had won and Hitler's Third
Reich was no more. A certain ethical position would state that the anti-sematic Nazi German culture was neither right nor wrong in its actions. In fact, it is this view of the cultural relativist that assumes all actions considered right in a culture to be good for that culture alone. Moreover, the relativist claims that these
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The premise states what different people believe to be true, and the conclusion jumps to the assumption that this belief must necessarily be the case. Let the reader consider this instance, which closely follows the form of the above given argument. Assume that there is a society that believes that sunning as much as possible in the nude can only benefit a person. Due to scientific study, it has been experimentally shown that overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.
Being in the American culture, people know this to be true and therefore would disagree with sunning too often. According to the relativist, since the two cultures disagree concerning the practice of sunning there is no objective truth about it. However, this is a faulty conclusion because empirical evidence shows that the first culture would be wrong in its beliefs. In truth, one cannot "derive a substantive conclusion about a subject (morally) from the mere fact that people disagree about it.3"

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