People change. When one culture sees a tradition practiced by another as immoral, however, it becomes difficult for both cultures to maintain a dialogue. -We could no longer say that customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own. Originally proposed by Franz Boas in 1887, it is an idea that has never been implemented on a large scale. Cultures change. People change. We can become aggressive when a driver cuts you off while driving and puts your family at risk. Practicing cultural relativism requires an open mind and a willingness to consider, and even adapt to, new values and norms. Cultural Relativism: A Moral Fallacy Cultural Relativism is the theory that all belief's are equally valid and that truth itself is relative, depending on the situation, environment and individual. We often think of the concept of cultural relativism as progression, but it isn’t necessarily that way. Determining what is deemed good and what is bad is an impossible thing. This is a widely accepted theory in modern philosophy, but what harm could come from this way of thinking? A ten foot bandage would be wrapped around the … It should be noted that these are not reasons to avoid diversity, … When implemented successfully, each person would get to focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses. Because both are “right,” there’s no way to judge progress. Cultural relativism eliminates the rigidity that societies have in place regarding ethics, … Foot binding was to stop the growth of the foot and make them smaller. 3. However, cons include abandoning any judgment, and eliminating individual opinions and morals. It is true that we do not have external, objective standards and measures of comparison, presupposed by opponents of the incommensurability thesis. That is the most significant disadvantage of this concept. People follow their own code at the expense of others. 7. Although this process can allow for disturbing results, most cultures are based on inclusion instead of exclusion. Cultural assimilation is a process where the individuals of one culture fuse themselves with a different one as a way to fit in with in the context of ethnocentrism. People begin to feel hostile because even if they deeply disagree with a cultural practice, there is seemingly nothing that they can do about it. 7. April 21, 2017 by Louise Gaille. 9. Individuals and groups will work to acquire the same cultural patterns, ideas, and attitudes of the majority in their new community. 2. There is no one person who can deem morals to be correct or wrong. An opinion instantly becomes fact. 4. While this may seem like a con, there are certainly pros to it. Though cultural relativism initially appears to be a logical conclusion for the diametrically opposed cultures of various countries existing on earth, it does not consider the possibility of quantifying specific aspects of society, culture, and an individual’s life to create an objective comparison between cultures. If you’re upset with your neighbor, then you can kill that person without consequence if your moral code allows for murder. It could limit humanity’s progress. Lewis, in his description of Hell from The Screwtape Letters, envisions a place where people are constantly going away from each other to avoid the demons that each person has. You set the definitions of what you can have and what you cannot have. Although cultural relativism can promote people coming together to share their strengths, it can also encourage people to draw apart from one another. This theory is most debated through the religious world because religious sects believe that their set of morals is the only correct ones. It also means that there are no actual definitions that are in place for a society. By saying that no moral judgment can be passed on any culture is truly a bias in itself. By creating individualized cultures, on singular or larger scales, it does become easier to keep and embrace the traditions that humanity has developed over the millennia. We can be forgetful. But in Cultural Relativism, we cannot legitimately think of this as progress—there is no standard by which we judge the new ways as better or “progressive”.If the old ways were in accordance with the social standards of their time, then the theory would say it is a mistake to judge them by the standards of a different time. It eliminates one bias for another. By embracing the many differences we have, the cooperation creates the potential for a stronger society. 5. The weakness of cultural relativism is its propensity towards quietism which may compromise action to protect human rights. Some Actions Are Not Excusable 4. 2. In cultural relativism, everyone would be able to use their bathroom of choice OR a culture could state that everyone must use a specific bathroom without exception and there would be complete agreement in either choice. We might consider the ability for women to vote as the “right” thing to do today, but in past societies, not allowing women to vote was also “right” from a cultural standpoint. It doesn’t matter if the bulge is a gun or a package of Skittles. Looking at someone and saying, “Glad that isn’t me,” is a judgment. Disadvantages of Cultural Relativism 1. The only person that judges you is yourself. Here are some of the key points to consider. Each individual definition of success allows us to pursue stronger bonds with one another and potentially achieve more because there are no limitations from a group level and what can or cannot be accomplished. The disadvantages are that it is a theory that is based on the idea that humans ultimately choose the right thing to do. This is easily the biggest and most argued flaw with the idea of cultural relativism. No definition of success can be implemented because each is successful in its own way. The process often began between four and seven years old. 1. Respect is encouraged in a system of cultural relativism. Cultural Relativism and Term Ethnocentrism. If it does, then the action is permitted. Relativism, including cultural relativism, is considered to be self-contradictory and impossible, as it seems to reject the idea of a universal right and wrong. The belief that one person knows what is right, and that is the only way it is, isolates and discriminates against people who believe differently. In cultural relativism, you get to pursue your own interests without restriction. Each person is naturally given the right to pursue life through their own specific perspective and then learn from their experiences in a way that works best for them. It draws people away from one another. It would stop employers from paying someone a fair wage – or even paying them a wage at all. Native and First Nations tribes in North America did this by signing treaties which would help them to preserve some lands, but limit their rights by being subject to a new governmental authority. Each person can set their own moralistic codes which they follow. To determine if a decision would be “right” or “wrong,” cultural relativism allows individuals to consult with the standards of their society or culture. Is there truly a universal right and wrong? Another great example of this theory is that children in America are raised to believe that dogs are pets, while in other countries, such as China, dogs are considered a source of food. You’re focusing on the customs of a culture, not the morality that is imposed upon those customs. Those who hold the belief of Cultural Relativist, hold that all beliefs are completely relative to the individual within a cultural identity. It preserves human cultures. Cultures should not be judged by another's values or viewpoints, but be examined on their own terms and that there should be no notions of one culture being better or worse than another culture. Diversity of cultures, even those with conflicting moral beliefs, is not to be considered in terms of right and wrong or good and bad. The decision to act becomes a righteous one because of the individual truth that the culture allowed through the bias it perpetrates. 12 Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing, 18 Major Advantages and Disadvantages of the Payback Period, 20 Advantages and Disadvantages of Leasing a Car, 19 Advantages and Disadvantages of Debt Financing, 24 Key Advantages and Disadvantages of a C Corporation, 16 Biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of Mediation, 18 Advantages and Disadvantages of a Gated Community, 17 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Groups, 17 Key Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate Bonds, 19 Major Advantages and Disadvantages of Annuities, 17 Biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of Advertising. Critics of cultural relativism argue that there must be some unquestionable absolutes of right and wrong despite the … Relativism has three basic flaws; that the Cultural Differences Argument exaggerates the depth of cultural disagreements, that it asserts people's values do not evolve over time, and that it ignores the limits and requirements that must be upheld for tolerance to exist. Although the cultural moral bias is eliminated from the equation using this theory, it creates a personal bias that is based on self-interest. The only standards that are in place are those which are set by the individual involved, which means everyone is pursuing their own position of strength. Many times, culturally traditional things begin to shift and change in order to appease the world view of said culture. 4. Humanity is a very diverse set of thoughts, traditions, ideas, and practices. Within the society, either choice would be seen as moral progress, but in reality, it could hold people back. It is a simple test to determine the course that a person should take in such a circumstance. We cannot create diversity when the emphasis of a society is individualistic gain that can come at the expense of others. That separation creates equality because each person can set their own definition of success. A person’s actions should be looked at with all things taken into account, especially the religion and culture t hat they grew up in. The current debate on the transgender bathroom laws in North Carolina and Texas is a good example of this. Cultural relativism is a view that a culture must be judged according to its own cultural standards. Perceptions become real. Cultural relativism would allow slavery to return to the US South. People come from different cultures. When you remove the ability to judge one standard from another, then the comparative process of placing a current society or culture against a past one is removed as well. 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