Cultural relativism is the idea that different cultures have different ethical systems and that no one system is better or worse than any other. In his essay “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism,” James Rachels critiques this view, arguing that it leads to a number of problems.
Rachels first points out that cultural relativism cannot account for the fact that some practices are universally condemned. If all ethical systems are equally valid, then why is it that things like genocide and torture are always considered wrong? Surely there must be some objective standard of right and wrong that we can appeal to in order to judge these practices.
Secondly, Rachels argues that cultural relativism leads to a form of moral nihilism. If there is no objective right or wrong, then there can be no such thing as moral progress. We would have no way of knowing if we are becoming more ethical over time. This is a problem because it means that we could never critique our own culture’s practices and try to improve them.
Thirdly, Rachels argues that cultural relativism leads to a lack of tolerance. If we believe that our own culture’s practices are the only correct ones, then we will have no reason to tolerate the practices of other cultures. This lack of tolerance can lead to all sorts of conflict and violence.
Overall, Rachels makes a strong case against cultural relativism. He points out that it leads to a number of problems and does not seem to be a very defensible position.
James Rachels analyzes and discusses the concept of Cultural Relativism in his essay “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism.” He points out some errors and inconsistencies in the theory. According to the theory of Cultural Relativism, “there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics; instead, there are different cultural codes.”
This theory has been debated by many ethicists and Rachels does a good job of presenting both sides of the argument.
On the pro side, Rachels claims that Cultural Relativism is valuable because it challenges our belief in ethical objectivity. It forces us to realize that our own culture shapes our beliefs about right and wrong. He also argues that the theory can help to promote tolerance by showing us that other cultures have different values and that we should not judge them based on our own standards.
However, Rachels also presents some valid arguments against Cultural Relativism. He claims that the theory is self-refuting because it states that there are no universal truths, but then goes on to claim that the theory itself is true. He also argues that the theory leads to a form of moral relativism, which is the belief that there are no objective ethical standards and that anything can be morally justified.
Rachels ultimately concludes that Cultural Relativism is not a strong enough theory to stand on its own. He claims that while it has some valuable points, it also has some major flaws. Overall, I think Rachels does a good job of presenting both sides of the argument and provides a well-rounded perspective on the issue.
In other words, moral or ethical systems are viewed differently by various cultures, therefore we can’t say which is preferable than the next. In his work, Rachels attacks cultural relativism as an invalid argument that leads to implausible consequences and that moral norms are not entirely distinct. Rachels also claims that there are no good or bad things in this world; instead, social behaviors influence us to have an open mind.
Cultural relativism is the idea that different cultures have different moral codes and that there is no one correct way of living. This idea has been around for centuries, and it was first proposed by Sophocles. The idea gained popularity in the 20th century with the rise of anthropology.
Rachels argues that cultural relativism leads to two implausible consequences. First, if all cultures are equally good, then there must be something wrong with our own culture. Second, if all cultures are equally good, then we should not try to improve them. Rachels also argues that moral codes are not entirely different. He claims that there are some universals, such as the Golden Rule (treat others as you would want to be treated).
I agree with Rachels that cultural relativism has some implausible consequences. However, I think the idea of cultural relativism is still valuable because it reminds us to be open-minded. It is important to remember that different cultures have different ways of life and that we should not judge them. We should try to learn from other cultures and maybe even find ways to improve our own.
Rachels starts by explaining that the cultural differences argument is not logically valid because the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises. Rachels uses an example of the old belief that the earth was flat to show that just because you believe in something, it does not mean it is true.
Moreover, Rachels states that cultural relativism is the view that what is morally right or wrong varies from culture to culture. He gives the example of infanticide among the Arunta tribe in Australia and how it was considered morally acceptable at that time. However, just because something is considered morally acceptable in one culture does not mean it is universally true.
Rachels argues that there are two types of moral reasoning: descriptive and normative. Descriptive reasoning is based on observations about what people actually do (i.e. looking at whether people think something is right or wrong). Normative reasoning, on the other hand, is based on ethical principles (i.e. what we think ought to be done). Rachels claims that cultural relativism confuses these two types of reasoning.
Cultural relativism is only descriptive, not normative. It does not tell us what we ought to do, but only describes what people in different cultures actually believe. In order for cultural relativism to be a viable ethical theory, it would have to show that all cultures are equally good or that there is no way to judge one culture as being better than another. However, Rachels argues that this is not the case.
First, Rachels points out that some cultures are clearly better than others. For example, most people today would agree that a culture that allows infanticide is inferior to a culture that does not allow it. Second, even if all cultures are equally good, there would still be a need for ethical principles to guide our actions.
Rachels gives the example of two cultures, both of which have the same moral beliefs but differ on how these beliefs should be applied. In such a case, we would still need some way to decide which culture is right and which is wrong.