Cultural Relativism

Essay by nepgunesCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2004

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There are an enormous amount of people in this world that we live in. All of these people belong to different cultures and societies. Each society has traits and customs that make it different from any other. Every society has their own way of looking at and dealing with certain situations. "Different societies have different moral codes" (Rachels 618). This claim is known as Cultural Relativism. "Cultural Relativism, as it has been called, challenges our ordinary belief in the objectivity and universality of moral truth. There is no such thing as universal truth in ethics: there there are only the various cultural codes, and nothing more. Moreover, our own code has no special status, it is merely one among many" (Rachels 618). It is clear that the answer to the question of ethics is, Cultural Relativism.

The subject of murder is probably the most common issue thought to be an absolute wrong.

This is not always the case; murder has its place in many cultures. Eskimo customs are very different from our own. "The Eskimos practice infanticide as well as the killing of elders. So there seemed to be, in this society, remarkably little respect for life" (Rachels 617). We view these customs as inferior to ours. But when you look at it, this practice is necessary for the survival of the of the group. The elders are too old to contribute to the group but yet they consume precious food. The males within the Eskimo groups are looked higher upon because they are the hunters and food providers. The killing of female infants helps keep the ratio of males and females even. So many males die when there out hunting. If they didn't kill the female babies then the females would dominate the group and...