The moral relativism denies that any moral code has universal validity, and ethical propositions do not reflect absolute and universal moral truths. Morality is relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. The idea of relativism is not new. Protagoras, a Sophist, claimed that "the man is the measure of all things". Human custom determines good and evil, just and unjust. Thus, ethical assertions are absolutely true or always only relative to some individual, society, or culture (moral relativism and cultural relativism)?
Cultural relativism is the view that all ethical judgments are culturally conditioned. The moral codes change in accordance with the society. We cannot think about a moral code that would apply at all times and in all places. Because the moral knowledge is limited, and moral values are arbitrary, relative or subjective, cultural relativism is a form of skepticism. Morality is a local matter that varies from culture to culture. As stated by the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, culture is the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time. Contemporary arguments to support cultural relativism are produced by ethnologists.
[...] Conclusion Because the mains arguments fail, cultural relativism is not sufficient to support the inexistence of an objective and universal moral truth and to prove that morality necessarily varies from culture to culture. However, these theories are interesting, to understand and respect the differences between cultures and think about these to appreciate the values of a given society. Occident has often thought have a universal truth, and tried (and try again) to impose it at all the countries. If there is an objective truth, reason and dialogue between cultures could make understand what is good or bad for human being and try to find a way to live morally. [...]
[...] Because simple cultural relativism has not an admissible conclusion, Bernard Williams and Alisdair MacIntyre claim that they are moral truth to avoid the same critiques. A. Argument According to Bernard Williams, simple relativism possibly the most absurd view to have been advanced even in moral philosophy”. For him, there are moral truths. But these moral truths are not absolute and applicable wherever and whenever; they are only true within a particular society. These are perceived truths and derived from this particular culture. [...]
[...] So, the position of Bernard Williams defeated itself. In other words, Williams says we cannot adopt a transcendental standpoint because truth is not objective but he does in order to justify his point of view. MacIntyre adopts a pessimistic and skeptic point of view. He undermines the role of reason because moral judgments cannot be argued for by an appeal to agreed-upon rational criteria within a complex culture as ours. This lack of confidence in the solving of ethical problems is cynicism and pessimism. [...]
APA Style referenceFor your bibliography
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee