The subject of ethics and whether there are objective moral standards is a difficult one. One of the biggest problems in considering this conundrum is how to decide what is right independent of a person's culture. To do this, criticisms have to be leveled from one group at another. The problem arises when someone claims that societies are so irreconcilably different that on criticism can be made. Our increased global awareness has shown the diversity of the beliefs held by citizens of other countries and how those beliefs sometimes clash with our own. Things we view as wrong or immoral are accepted and even commonplace in some societies. Sometimes, societies that appear on the surface to have practices which display completely different values are not as dissimilar as people think.
[...] “Studies indicate that Muslim first wives in the Middle East are unhappy with polygamous marriages and that their unhappiness is manifested in physical and mental illnesses (Cook This might be one reason one might give in protest of the practice of polygamy. In some African culture, the custom of polygamy is one that merely demonstrates the wealth of a man (Gbonigi 79). Multiple wives are like trophies and are used much in the same way people in America might buy many expensive cars or other costly personal possessions. [...]
[...] Polygamy, more or less meaning polygyny from here on, is a custom that seems to make some anthropological sense in that it helps maintain a high birth rate and helps to create workers for an agrarian society. In the largely undeveloped and agrarian societies of Africa, polygamy, and the consequently large family that it creates are positives. Africa, polygamy was, and is, an adaptive practice that provided a man with many children, and therefore workers, that added to his wealth. [...]
[...] This contradicts the notion that cultures are so different that there is no way that a comparison or judgment can be made from an outside source. Moral relativism, therefore, which states that a culture determines the accepted moral code and because of that one culture cannot pass judgment on another, seems false. Polygamy is a practice that seems so alien and wrong to our culture, but when examined more closely, is one that attempts to fulfill many of the moral standards that our society does. The commonalities are surprising and show that cultures which have different practices do not [...]
[...] Almost always, a polygamous marriage involves one man and multiple women. This type of polygamy is called polygyny (Cook 235). Some may involve only a few wives, some may involve dozens. The former president of South Africa is rumored to have nearly seventy wives (Allen A5). While completely contrary to what is considered the cultural norm, there are some posited reasons for the beginnings and continued practice of polygamy. The practices of a group or society move progressively towards what is best for the survival of that group. [...]
APA Style referenceFor your bibliography
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee