Essay Culture and Moral Code

Submitted By natehadden
Words: 939
Pages: 4

PHI105 – Intro to Ethics
Professor Millard
Chapter 2
Cultural Relativism
PART A: 1. A.) Page 16 Cultural Relativism challenges our belief in the objectivity and universality of moral truth. Cultural relativists have made all the following claims: 1. Different societies have different moral codes. 2. 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. 3. There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one society’s code as better than another’s. There are no moral truths that hold for all people at all times. 4. The moral code of our own society has no special status; it is but one among many. 5. It is arrogant for us to judge other cultures. We should always be tolerant of them. B.) Page 17 Cultural Relativists often employ a certain form of argument. They begin with facts about cultures and end up drawing a conclusion about morality. Thus, they invite us to accept this reasoning: 1. The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead, whereas the Callatians believed it was right to eat the dead. 2. Therefore, eating the dead is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture. C.) Page 19These three consequences of Cultural Relativism have led many people to reject it. 1. We could no longer say that the customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own. 2. We could no longer criticize the code of our own society. 3. The idea of moral progress is called into doubt. D.) Page 23Some values are shared by all cultures. It should not surprise us that the Eskimos were protective of their children. How could they not be? Babies are helpless and cannot survive without extensive care. If a group did not protect its young, the young would not survive and eventually the group would die out. There are some other moral rules that all societies must embrace, because those rules are necessary for society to exist. The other rules against lying and murder are two examples. E.) Page 31Realizing that we can see that our feelings are not necessarily perceptions of the truth, that they may be due to cultural conditioning and nothing more can help broaden our minds. We will be more open to discovering the truth and can understand the appeal of Cultural Relativism, which is based on a genuine insight, that many of the practices and attitudes that we find to be natural are really only cultural beliefs. To hold this thought is important if you want to avoid being arrogant and remaining open to new ideas and beliefs. 2. The author says that there are many shortcomings to this theory and that, “Cultural Relativism rests on an unsound argument, that it has implausible consequences, and that it suggests greater moral disagreement than exists.” However the Author also says, “It is an attractive theory because it is based on a genuine insight: that many of the practices and attitudes we find natural are really only cultural products. Moreover, keeping this thought in mind is important if we want to avoid arrogance and remain open to new ideas. These are important points, not to be taken lightly. But we can accept them without accepting the whole theory.” 3. I believe that the ethical system, Cultural Relativism, has a lot to do with our upbringings and the beliefs that were instilled in our heads while growing