Evaluate Rachel's Arguments Against Cultural Relativism
Evaluate Rachel's arguments against cultural relativism. Is he right to endorse objective moral realism?
DINH NAM TRAN
Cultural relativism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “Is the thesis that a person’s culture strongly influences her modes of perception and thought” Most cultural relativists add to this definition saying that there is no standard of morality. This means that morality is relative to the particular society that one lives in. Prominent ethicist James Rachels has written against this view in his work titled The Challenge of Cultural Relativism. This paper will be focused on evaluating Rachels’ critique of cultural relativism, and whether it was right for him to endorse …show more content…
Going from strength to strength, Rachels presents his third argument of logical consequence. Rachels states that if cultural relativism is true, then “the idea of moral progress is called into doubt.” This is to be understood that in societies social changes are for better, and at some times for worse. But with cultural relativism there is no objective moral standard, so social change within a society cannot be judged as being for better or for worse. Rachels gives the example of our contemporary society enforcing equal rights for women and the afro-carribeans of America. Cultural relativist can only see these changes as neutral, or clarifications of already existing social norms. This is the restriction put on moral progress but the ideas of cultural relativism. But according to Rachels, the large majority of people believe these changes in social norms as progress, for the betterment of their society. This is again strengthens Rachels idea that there exist an objective moral standards and also, furthers reaffirms Rachels’ argument that cultural relativism is unsound.
Under the evaluations made so far, Rachels has made strong points to disprove cultural relativism, and has offered three effective arguments for his theory that there exists objective moral realism. Recapping, it was defined by Rachels that objective moral