The challenge of cultural relativism. James Rachels. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press () . What different positions have gone under the name of “cultural relativism”? What does Rachels think is the essence of the theory? Do you find the theory. James Rachels’ essay, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, is primarily a critique of cultural relativism and, in a way; the writer has put forward.

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Rationality, Relativism, and Religion: Cook – – Oxford University Press. As we discussed the position James Rachels took in the article assigned to the ethics class, it became clear that Rachels’ understanding of cultural relativism differed from that of most anthropologists: As we can see, some cultures allow homosexuality and others strongly condemn it but many people who believe in such a theory have learned to live with thhe.

Added to PP index Total downloads 20of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 3of 2, How can I increase my downloads? What, exactly, was wrong with what James Rachels said about cultural relativism?

There may be exceptions to these values and there may be variations in these exceptions relative to different societies but murder and telling a lie have always been prohibited.

James Rachels, The challenge of cultural relativism – PhilPapers

No keywords specified fix it. That’s part of thr I told my student as we discussed Rachels’ essay. The Problem for Normative Cultural Relativism. Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University’s proxy server Configure custom proxy use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy.

You are commenting using your WordPress. Morality and Cultural Differences. An undergraduate anthropology student came to me with an assigned reading in a philosophy course at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.


Obviously, jmaes has always persuaded man to believe that telling the truth is always more beneficial for all societies, and necessary for communication. Notify me of new posts via email.

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The challenge of cultural relativism

He identified a logical fallacy in the argument of Cultural Relativism and discussed briefly the limitations of cultural relativism. While this premise is true and, factually, different societies have different moral values chalpenge does not follow that there is no objective morality. In this case, we can easily identify through science, evidence and reason that one of these cultures is mistaken. Seungbae Park – – Cultura 8 1: An anthropologist would have asked different kinds of questions: Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

On The Challenge of Cultural Relativism

Cultural Relativism cannot be a law particularly because of these values that are common everywhere and at all times. Firstly, the argument against Cultural Relativism proposes that since different values prevail in different societies there can be no objective standard.

Information This entry was posted on March 15, by hadeelnaeem in Philosophy and tagged Cultural Relativism.

Notify me of new comments via email. Moreover, the writer pointed out that even experience can tell us that Cultural Relativism is not quite the case; he based this particular argument on the tinges of moral objectivity that we see amidst the rdlativism differences in values. The student had learned, however, that the anthropologist is a participant and an observer at the same time, and that our task is to faithfully portray a culture.

His main criticism of cultural relativism is simple: Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. What he was learning in his philosophy class challenged what he had learned about cultural relativism as a core concept in anthropology and he was surprised to find it examined negatively by a philosopher.


North and Latin American Perspectives. A need for a standard, hence, is vital. The fact that there is no measure for societal progress without a standard and no moral value, belonging to any society, can be discouraged, looked cultudal upon or prohibited can be a major problem. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. For instance, the writer rightly points out that some cultures believe in heliocentricity and others may still believe in a geocentric arrangement of the universe.

Defence of Cultural Relativism. An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality. This article has no associated abstract. Shomali – – Saqi Books. Cultural Ravhels in Social and Political Philosophy categorize this paper. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Herskovits – – New York: For instance, the covering of breasts with a relatlvism is part of some cultures and is not really important for other cultures. The fallacy in the argument is that the conclusion does not follow from this premise.

Cultural relativism is part of our training as social scientists as well as humanists—we participate and learn to understand and appreciate [End Page ] another culture, inevitably returning to our own culture to write and teach about what we have learned. Eventually, the writer touched upon the most interesting and pragmatic aspect of the theory. Science Logic and Mathematics.