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Is cultural relativism an evil idea?

Stupidape
Posts: 171
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7/30/2016 9:13:06 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
More and more I'm starting to see that cultural relativism is an abstract construct designed to permit wicked deeds, to go unpunished. Let's respect this tribe's right to human sacrifices just does not fly in my book. What do you think?

http://www.gotquestions.org...
Robkwoods
Posts: 575
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8/2/2016 3:39:10 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/30/2016 9:13:06 AM, Stupidape wrote:
More and more I'm starting to see that cultural relativism is an abstract construct designed to permit wicked deeds, to go unpunished. Let's respect this tribe's right to human sacrifices just does not fly in my book. What do you think?


http://www.gotquestions.org...

It seeks to deny an absolute definition of good and evil. It is equality of outcome for Ideology.
Burzmali
Posts: 1,310
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8/2/2016 4:04:10 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/30/2016 9:13:06 AM, Stupidape wrote:
More and more I'm starting to see that cultural relativism is an abstract construct designed to permit wicked deeds, to go unpunished. Let's respect this tribe's right to human sacrifices just does not fly in my book. What do you think?


http://www.gotquestions.org...

Cultural relativism is actually about being objective when studying other cultures. It's a principal that is adopted by a branch of science (anthropology), and not intended to be adopted by individuals on a personal level. It's not designed to permit anything. Rather, it's a principle used discourage value judgments in scientific study.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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8/2/2016 5:01:52 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/2/2016 4:04:10 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 7/30/2016 9:13:06 AM, Stupidape wrote:
More and more I'm starting to see that cultural relativism is an abstract construct designed to permit wicked deeds, to go unpunished. Let's respect this tribe's right to human sacrifices just does not fly in my book. What do you think?


http://www.gotquestions.org...

Cultural relativism is actually about being objective when studying other cultures. It's a principal that is adopted by a branch of science (anthropology), and not intended to be adopted by individuals on a personal level. It's not designed to permit anything. Rather, it's a principle used discourage value judgments in scientific study.

But regardless of the anthropologists' original intention, there are people who adopt it on a personal level, who adopt moral relativism as a metaethical view. So there could well be people who point at human sacrifices and consider them acceptable in that context.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Burzmali
Posts: 1,310
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8/2/2016 6:12:13 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/2/2016 5:01:52 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/2/2016 4:04:10 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 7/30/2016 9:13:06 AM, Stupidape wrote:
More and more I'm starting to see that cultural relativism is an abstract construct designed to permit wicked deeds, to go unpunished. Let's respect this tribe's right to human sacrifices just does not fly in my book. What do you think?


http://www.gotquestions.org...

Cultural relativism is actually about being objective when studying other cultures. It's a principal that is adopted by a branch of science (anthropology), and not intended to be adopted by individuals on a personal level. It's not designed to permit anything. Rather, it's a principle used discourage value judgments in scientific study.

But regardless of the anthropologists' original intention, there are people who adopt it on a personal level, who adopt moral relativism as a metaethical view. So there could well be people who point at human sacrifices and consider them acceptable in that context.

Sure, but that isn't relative to what the OP wrote. The OP said it was "designed" to permit wicked deeds. That's incorrect. If someone does want to judge the validity of idea of cultural relativism based on individuals' misunderstanding/misapplication of it, well that makes about as much sense as judging the validity of evolution based on the actions of Hitler and other eugenicists.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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8/6/2016 12:29:40 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/30/2016 9:13:06 AM, Stupidape wrote:
More and more I'm starting to see that cultural relativism is an abstract construct designed to permit wicked deeds, to go unpunished.

That would be a conflation of cultural relativism:
the principle that an individual person's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. [https://en.wikipedia.org...]

...with moral relativism:

Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others. It has often been associated with other claims about morality: notably, the thesis that different cultures often exhibit radically different moral values; the denial that there are universal moral values shared by every human society; and the insistence that we should refrain from passing moral judgments on beliefs and practices characteristic of cultures other than our own [http://www.iep.utm.edu...]

As anthropologist Clyde Kluckhon pointed out, bolding mine:

The concept of culture, like any other piece of knowledge, can be abused and misinterpreted. Some fear that the principle of cultural relativity will weaken morality. "If the Bugabuga do it why can't we? It's all relative anyway." But this is exactly what cultural relativity does not mean.

The principle of cultural relativity does not mean that because the members of some savage tribe are allowed to behave in a certain way that this fact gives intellectual warrant for such behavior in all groups. Cultural relativity means, on the contrary, that the appropriateness of any positive or negative custom must be evaluated with regard to how this habit fits with other group habits. Having several wives makes economic sense among herders, not among hunters. While breeding a healthy scepticism as to the eternity of any value prized by a particular people, anthropology does not as a matter of theory deny the existence of moral absolutes. Rather, the use of the comparative method provides a scientific means of discovering such absolutes. If all surviving societies have found it necessary to impose some of the same restrictions upon the behavior of their members, this makes a strong argument that these aspects of the moral code are indispensable.


[https://en.wikipedia.org...]