Morality Is Culturally Relative

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Culture Pages: 5 (2085 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Within this world that we live on, there is an enormous amount of people. Each of these people belongs to different cultures and societies. Every society has traits and customs that make it unique. These societies follow different moral codes. This means that they will may have different answers to the moral questions asked by our own society. What I am trying to say is that every society has a different way of analyzing and dealing with life's events, because of their cultural beliefs. This is claim is known as Cultural Relativism. Cultural Relativism is the correct view of ethics.1. Different societies have different moral codes.2. There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one societal code better than another.3. The moral code of our own society has no special status; it is merely one among many.4. There is no "universal truth" in ethics-that is, there are no moral truths that hold for all peoples at all times.5. The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society; that is, if the moral code of a society says that a certain action is right, then that action is right, at least within that society.6. It is mere arrogance for us to try to judge the conduct of other peoples. We should adopt an attitude of tolerance toward the practices of other cultures(Pojman,1996,p.360).Above are six claims that help explain the notion of Cultural Relativism. This essays arguments will help to illustrate them directly and indirectly. It will be clear that the true answer to the question of ethics is, Cultural Relativism. The definitions listed are words used through out the paper and can be used as a reference.Cultural Absolutism- Holds there is exactly one right answer to every "What I should do in situation X?".Cultural Relativism- "Views moral validity in terms of social acceptance"Society- Organized or interdependent communityEthics- set of moral principalsMorality- degree of conformity to moral principals; moral conduct; science of moralsValues- desirability, or qualities on which these depend; one's principals, priorities, or standards.The subject of murder is probably the most common issue thought to be a moral absolute. What I mean is, people think it is wrong to kill another human being. This is not always the case; murder has its place in many cultures. In Rachels article, the Eskimos practice infanticide as well as the killing of elders. The elders are too feeble to contribute to the group but; they still consume precious food, which is scarce. This practice is necessary for the survival of the of the group. The males within the Eskimo tribes have a higher mortality rate because they are the hunters and food providers. The killing of female infants helps keep the necessary equilibrium for the survival of the group. So, this infanticide and killing of elders does not signal that Eskimos have less compassion for their children, nor less respect for human life; it is merely recognition that murder is sometimes needed to ensure that the Eskimos do not become culturally extinct (Pojman,1996).To continue with the subject of murder, there are many questions about murder that our own society faces. Within our own society there are conflicting views on topics such as abortion, capital punishment and, euthanasia. To some these acts are considered to be murder, to others they are necessary to our society. The point of this conflict is that even within our own society, there is a discrepancy between what is morally right or wrong. There is an exception to every so-called moral absolute. This eliminates the possibility of Moral Absolutism, and proves there is no universal truth (Pojman,1996).Ruth states that homosexuals deal with many conflicts that are culturally based (Pojman,1996). For example, in our western society, the Catholic religion believes that is a sin for...

Cited: /b>
  • Pojman, Louis P. Philosophy: The Quest for Truth. 3rd ed. New York: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996.
    Continue Reading

    Please join StudyMode to read the full document

  • You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

    • Essay about Relative and Absolute Morality
    • Morality is a Culturally Conditioned Response Research Paper
    • Morality is a culturally conditioned response Essay
    • Essay on It Is Obvious That Morality Is Relative
    • Essay about morality
    • Explain the Differences Between Absolute and Relative Morality Essay
    • Explain the main differences between absolute and relative morality Essay
    • Is Morality a Relative Concept? Essay

    Become a StudyMode Member

    Sign Up - It's Free