Cultural relativism is the philosophical approach which suggests
that it is difficult to make assessments and judgments against other
cultures. This is made out of the premise that we, as individuals, are
products of our cultures. Therefore, what we might find distasteful or
inappropriate is a judgment made out of our own culture. In contrast,
what we do and take for granted might be seen by other cultures as
bizarre and in bad taste. In examining cultural relativism, I
would examine this. Relativism argues that not passing judgments
against cultures allows for a greater sense of cultural appreciation.
We don't lock other cultures in judgments, but rather are tolerant and
accepting of them.
The arguments against relativism abound. This is not necessarily
something that means it is bad, as much as it is more logically
infeasible. For example, if judgments cannot be made about cultures and
that "all cultures are accepted," then this, by its very nature, is a
judgment. One has made a judgment by not making a judgment. Another
challenge in the relativist logic is that it prevents anyone from
criticizing practices that might actually be in violation of basic
premises of human rights. For instance, are we not to criticize Hitler
and the practices of the Nazis because "that's their culture?" This
might be one major challenge intrinsic to cultural relativism
Oct 30th, 2014
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