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Cultural relativism

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Cultural relativism

  1. 1. Cultural Relativism & Ethnocentrism
  2. 2. In Bolivia, 14-year-old girls can legally get married. In China, men have to wait until they're 22.
  3. 3. In America, eye contact suggests that you are paying attention and interested in what a person has to say. Yet, in other cultures, eye contact can be considered rude and a challenge of authority.
  4. 4. What is cultural relativism? is the view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context. In other words, “right” and “wrong” are culture-specific “Different cultures have different moral codes” often is used as a key to understanding morality. Proponents argue that there is not as universal truth in ethics; there are only the various cultural codes and nothing more. The customs of different societies is all that exist
  5. 5. What about ethnocentrism?
  6. 6. Ethnocentrism is quite different than that of cultural relativism.
  7. 7. Ethnocentrism is the view that one particular ethnic group is somehow superior to all others. A common idiom is “tunnel vision.” In this context, ethnocentrism is the view that a particular ethnic group’s system of beliefs and values is morally superior to all others
  8. 8. Discrimination plays a direct role in the ethnocentric belief. 
  9. 9. During the exploration period the discrimination against blacks by whites was a major controversial issue. In England many believed that the darker a person is the "dirtier and impure" they are. Some people believed that some races were not even races. Instead they were considered animals and not humans. 
  10. 10. The Cultural Differences Argument • Theory on the nature of morality Argument from facts about differences between cultural outlooks to making conclusions about the status of morality. Ex. 1. Different cultures have different moral codes 2. Therefore, there are no objective truth in morality. Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions vary from culture to culture.
  11. 11. Consequences of Accepting Cultural Relativism 1. We could no longer say that custom of other societies are morally inferior to others. 2. We could decide whether actions are right or wrong just by consulting the standards of our society. 3. The idea of moral progress is called into doubt
  12. 12. Case Study 1996, a 17 year old girl from Togo a West African country arrived in the US and asked for asylum to avoid “ excision”, a practice referred to as “female circumcision” or “female genital mutilation”. According to the WHO, the practice is widespread in 26 African countries and 2 million girls are excised each year. Reaction in the New York Times, encouraged the idea that excision was a barbaric practice and should be condemned.
  13. 13. Young girls often look forward to this because it a acceptance into adulthood. It is an accepted practice in many villages. Consequences of excision painful, results in permanent loss of sexual pleasure, hemorrhage, tetanus, septicemia, death, chronic infections, hinder walking, chronic pain Apparent no social benefits, not a matter of religious beliefs
  14. 14. Human Rights & Cultural Relativism Female Genital Mutilation poses a significant health risk to women. It can lead to infection, death, permanent psychological damage, among other complications. Women subject to this practice are being oppressed by men seeking to reinforce their dominance over females
  15. 15. Is excision, harmful or helpful? Cultural Relativist would conclude that excision has been practiced for centuries and we should not intervene and change ancient ways
  16. 16. aaaaac
  17. 17. “The only absolute truth is change, and death is the only way to stop change. Life is a series of judgments on changing situations, and no ideal, no belief fits every solution. Yet humans need to believe in something beyond themselves. Perhaps all intelligences do. If we do not act on higher motivations, then we can justify any action, no matter how horrible, as necessary for our survival. We are endlessly caught between the need for high moral absolutes—which will fail enough that any absolute can be demonstrated as false—and our tendency for individual judgments to degenerate into self-gratifying and unethical narcissism. Trying to force absolutes on others results in death and destruction, yet failing to act beyond one's self also leads to death and destruction, generally a lot sooner.”  L.E. Modesitt Jr.  The Parafaith War

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