Assignment: Cultural Relativism
Cultural Relativism has several, basic tenets. First, all cultures’ moral/ethical systems are equal, in overall claims to respect, and no culture’s ethical/moral system is better, or worse, than any other. Thus, it is up to each culture, to determine what are its moral and ethical rules. Second, no culture may impose its rules or systems on another culture.
Please note that these do not foreclose most, if not all, cultures from sharing certain, fundamental ethical positions, such as it is wrong to murder a fellow human being. These basic tenets indicate that one culture may not impose values on another, even when its members believe that values are Universal, or ought to be.
Resource: . Read only the introductory paragraphs.
As a side note, please keep in mind the difference between Empirical and Normative. “Empirical” statements are those that state facts, or can be characterized as “the way things are”; the “is,” if you will. Normative statements are those that indicate what rules, ethics, or morals, should apply in a situation; the “ought,” so to speak.
For many centuries, since the turn of the Second Millennium, Ethics and Moral Philosophy had been dominated by the perspectives of Ancient Greek Thought, such as Plato and Aristotle, as those theorists’ work was imported into Western Christianity, first by Augustine, who brought Platonic ideas into Western theological discourse in the Fifth Century CE, and then by Thomas Aquinas, who brought Aristotelian systematic approaches into Western Intellectual thought in the Thirteenth Century CE. Assignment: Cultural Relativism
Coincidentally with the period from the Sixteenth to the Mid-Twentieth Centuries European powers colonized and imperialised much of the rest of the World. The British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese Empires fell apart, in the wake of the Second World War, and those areas held by the Europeans gained their independence over the years from 1947 to 1975.
As a result of Post-Colonialism, the newly independent countries, cultures, and lands have sought to reconnect with their pre-European, cultural heritages. Those intellectual efforts have brought re-examinations of the prevailing Ethical, Moral, and Legal systems in those places. Also as a result of Post-Colonial Philosophical efforts, these cultures have sought to assert their own Ethical and Moral values and have argued for equality of their views and systems, with those of their former, European colonizers’ systems.
Intellectually, since the 1970s and ‘80s, within Western Ethics and Moral Philosophy, new schools of thought have emerged, in recognition of the developments in what have been termed the Third and Fourth Worlds; a/k/a the countries once politically/physically colonized by Europeans and North Americans. These schools of Thought are Cultural Relativism and Subjectivism. As we shall see below, these are related, though conceptually distinct.