“the Strengths of Cultural and Ethical Relativism Outweigh Their Weaknesses” - Discuss

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“The strengths of cultural and ethical relativism outweigh their weaknesses” - discuss.

Cultural relativism is the concept that what is right or wrong varies according to the beliefs of each culture. Within different cultures we may observe that what we believe is morally wrong, they see as a normal thing, such as how many muslims believe that chopping off the hand is the correct punishment for stealing, where as in my culture this would be seen as simply barbaric. Because there are so many different cultures across the world, this means that there are no universal rights or wrongs that we can apply to everyone, and different societies have different moral codes, meaning that ours is just one among millions. Because of the ethical diversity all over the world, this means we have to be tolerable to all opinions and can not judge anyone or deem their actions right or wrong.

Ethical relativism is the concept that there are no universally valid moral principles. This is because all moral principles that a person holds, are specific to them and their own beliefs, knowledge and experiences. This means that there is no such thing as good in itself, as there are many different opinions on one topic that one person may see as good, but another may not. Because the good or bad is dependent on different peoples’ opinions, there can be no objective basis for us to discover the truth.

“If you say there is no such thing as morality in absolute terms, then child abuse is not evil, it just may not happen to be your thing.”[1] This quote is an example of how cultural and ethical relativism can be applied to real life. If there is no absolutes in terms of good and bad, then who am I to say that an act such as child abuse or abortion is wrong? just because I may see it as wrong, this does not mean that other people or other cultures may also think it is wrong, in fact, they may have no problem with it.

Although cultural and ethical relativism may at first seem very similar, the key difference is that cultural relativism relates to what is right or wrong for a culture/community as a group, which different between other cultures and communities, where as ethical relativism is what is right or wrong for one single person, which differs from other people. They both address the idea that there is no absolute moral truths, as they differ so greatly between people and cultures.

The strengths of cultural relativism are very strong. One of the main advantages of it is that it allows people to have their own independent views, giving them the ability to express their own views freely without worrying about the judgement of others. Because these views are held by a community, it can also help to bring them together and to talk about their beliefs together, or to defend/help each other in times of need. They can also help give the tools to cultures to make moral decisions, as they will need to decide between them what is right or wrong to apply so certain situations.

Another strength of cultural relativism is that it can give cultures a sense of identity, just as ethical relativism can give a person a sense of identity as it is allowing them to have their own beliefs and have their own say on topics and the chance to stand up for themselves and what they believe in, giving an egalitarian way of thinking.

Ethical relativism is also good as because it is accessible to everyone as everyones personal opinions is valued because they are all seen as equals. Because everyones opinion is listened to, this means that any problem can be justified. Some may see this as a strength of ethical relativism as it enables people to say why they believe in something, but it could also been seen as a weakness.

Because ethical relativism allows anything to be justified, this leaves us with the question that if anything can be justified, is anything right or wrong? as although killing is seen as wrong, if the person that is killed has killed 15...
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