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What is cultural relativism?
Morals are culturally created. There are no objective or universal morals.
What is conventionalism
Cultural acceptance determines the validity of moral norms.
Who are the main proponents of Relativism?
William Graham Sumner, Ruth Benedict, Melville Heskovits, John Ladd
What are "descriptive ethics"
Merely describing the ethics of various cultures.
What is moral subjectivism
Morals are relative to the individuals subjective view.
What is multiculturalism?
A movement that seeks to foster greater appreciation of and tolerance for cultures different than one's own.
What is absolutism?
A rigid holding to absolute moral principles that does not allow for ANY exceptions.
What is "prima facie" absolutism?
Maintaining objective moral absolutes "at first appearance".
What is postmodernism?
All knowledge is received through one's cultural lenses. Therefore it is impossible to have an objective/universal view of truth.
What is a criticism of postmodernism?
Seeing the world through a cultural lense does not mean that we are incapable of rationality or objectivity...it simply makes objectivity more difficult.
What is another criticism of postmodernism?
To have the objective view that no one can have an objective moral view is self-refuting.
Arguments against Relativism #1
Anthropologists observations of the DEGREE of moral diversity is overstated, while the high DEGREE of moral consensus is understated.
Arguments against Relativsm #2
Observations of moral diversity are actually differences in moral PRACTICES. There is a moral consensus on PRINCIPLES or VIRTUES underlying those practices (courage, respect).
Arguments against Relativism #3
- The existence of diverse moral standards doesn't of necessity discredit absolute values that transcend culture.
- (the Bible teaches there are diverse pagan standards of morality but that God's standard transcends them all)
Arguments against Relativism #4
Relativism provides no way to arbitrate between competing cultural value claims. The relativist can neither condemn others values or umpire their competing claims.
Arguments against Relativism #5
The relativist cannot pass judgment on someone, or morally evaluate any clearly oppressive culture, or tyranny.
Arguments against Relativism #6
The relativist cannot offer praise to any moral reformer or "prophet" because they stand against the valid moral standards that are determined by that culture.
Arguments against Relativism #7
- It's central premise, that moral absolutes don't exist, is itself an absolute and therefore self-defeating.
- (the relativist may say that this premise is only a formal absolute - describing the "procedure" of relativism. This may be correct but the underlying absolute of tolerance is an absolute. The relativist can hardly tolerate any culture that had intolerance as one of its central virtues)
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