What exactly is cultural relativism' in metaethics? Is cultural relativism true? Can cultural relativists uphold the principles of cultural tolerance?
Cultural relativism is a view in metaethics regarding the moral codes of different cultures and provides an initially appealing way in which to incorporate all cultures values into the world without offending or discriminating towards anyone. However, this theory has a number of significant problems that seem to make it un unsuitable theory for the way the world operates. In this essay I will explain what cultural relativism is in metaethics, and then go on to look at the criticisms of the theory and attempt to offer a reply to each one. I will also address the issue of cultural tolerance and its place in cultural relativism. Finally reaching a conclusion that cultural relativism provides valuable lessons regarding our perceptions of morals and keeping an open mind, however the theory itself is lacking and seems untrue of moral truth
In order to understand what cultural relativism actually is in the discipline of metaethics, one must understand what metaethics is itself. Metaethics theorises about normative ethical questions which focus on what is morally correct and how we should act. Metaethical theory, therefore, is "concerned with the nature of moral concepts and judgments" .
Cultural relativism is one of a number of prominent theories within metaethics and deals with the idea that "moral utterances are truth-apt " and that the truth of each statement or social assertion is decided upon by the traditions, practices and beliefs held by a society. To further understand this concept consider this; the statement that rape is not wrong' would be true if a majority of a community significantly approved of rape, which can be examined empirically. Relativism seems to conflict with the practices of the Western society and its overall promotion of the right and wrong ways people are to... [continues]
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