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Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live? Essay

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Updated: Oct 27th, 2020

Introduction

As the process of globalization continues to shape the contemporary multicultural world, numerous moral issues arise when different cultures collide (Demuijnck 818). This paper aims to discuss the viability of such ethical theory as relativism in the context of the mentioned issues.

Main Body

First of all, it is essential to distinguish between moral and cultural relativism. Moral relativism refers to the perception of morality as a subjective matter to every individual (West 202; Midgley 70). Cultural relativism holds the idea that people from one culture do not have rights to judge actions and norms of people from another culture (Dickman et al. 325). This paper focuses on the latter variety of relativist theory. As an example of the theory’s application, one could mention child marriages which are widespread in Asia and Africa (Eriksen 1147). Children are taken from their families; they are sometimes raped and mutilated (“Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides”). From the relativist standpoint, such practice is the expression of the different cultural norm which should not be judged.

However, child marriages happen not only in Asia and Africa since there are examples of such unions in the United States. Even though some people are not aware, there are numerous occasions of underage marriages which are not banned by the government (Kristof). Therefore, the moral aspect of the issue is explicitly addressed because it is evident that those marriages do not happen in some other culture but American. The experiences of underage marriage are vastly destructive for the children involved in it, and the consequences, including the detachment from education, are immense (Kristof).

Conclusion

In conclusion, one could say that cultural relativism is wrong moral standpoint. This theory suggests that norms of other cultures should not be judged from the perspective of different culture. However, in the globalizing multicultural world, such morality leads to the interosculation of highly adverse practices.

Works Cited

Demuijnck, Geert. “Universal Values and Virtues in Management Versus Cross-cultural Moral Relativism: An Educational Strategy to Clear the Ground for Business Ethics.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 128, no. 4, 2015, pp. 817-835.

Dickman, Amy, et al. “The Moral Basis for Conservation: How Is It Affected by Culture?” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 13, no. 6, 2015, pp. 325-331.

Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. “Global Citizenship and the Challenge from Cultural Relativism.” Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology, vol. 12, no. 4, 2014, pp. 1141-1151.

Kristof, Nicholas. “11 Years Old, a Mom, and Pushed to Marry Her Rapist in Florida.” The New York Times. 2017. Web.

Midgley, Mary. “Trying Out One’s New Sword.” Heart and Mind: The Varieties of Moral Experience. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1981.

YouTube. 2011. Web.

West, Andrew. “Applying Metaethical and Normative Claims of Moral Relativism to (Shareholder and Stakeholder) Models of Corporate Governance.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 135, no. 2, 2016, pp. 199-215.

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IvyPanda. (2020, October 27). Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live? Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-cultural-relativism-a-viable-way-to-live/

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"Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live?" IvyPanda, 27 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/is-cultural-relativism-a-viable-way-to-live/.

1. IvyPanda. "Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live?" October 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-cultural-relativism-a-viable-way-to-live/.


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IvyPanda. "Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live?" October 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-cultural-relativism-a-viable-way-to-live/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live?" October 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-cultural-relativism-a-viable-way-to-live/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Is Cultural Relativism a Viable Way to Live'. 27 October.

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