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Cultural Relativism is, according to James Rachels, “a theory about the nature of morality”, that “challenges our ordinary belief in the objectivity and universality of moral truth” (Rachels). Essentially, what is right and what is wrong is determined by tradition and culture, and each culturally-dictated standard of living should be viewed, understood, and judged within the context of that particular culture alone (Nussbaum 121). This way of viewing culturally-specific circumstances is a good deterrent for racism, religious extremism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice. We Westerners are and have been guilty of colonialism and ethnocentric thinking. With this in mind, majority of scholars and even undergraduates “are hesitant to make any negative judgment of a culture other than their own” (Nussbaum 121). ...
ccurs in many countries in Africa where there is a ritualistic cutting of a part or the entire external female genitalia of girl as a rite of passage to adulthood. I agree with Nussbaum that the best argument for retaining this practice is FGM’s essentiality in ensuring “cultural continuity”. These operations make the community intact for it is a ritual that has been passed from generation to generation, and for a young lady, having undergone this ritual is a sign of being a part of the community. Cultural relativism would dictate that we should not be opposed to this ritual, because the society that practices it sees that it is the right thing to do for the greater good of not just the individual, or her husband, or their families, but for the benefit of the whole society as well. However, if you view this argument with rational thinking, practicing FGM does more harm to the society because the lives of their next generation women are at stake every time the procedure is performed, and for a continent that relies on female labor for most of its agricultural endeavors, it is not to the society’s benefit if their women cannot do their jobs more efficiently because of chronic infection, pain and difficulty in walking, urination, and menstruation, due to FGM. What is more, the future of the society is at stake because FGM makes the rates of complications in child birth higher and the risk of the mother and infant dying during and after child birth greater. Though many modern philosophers and social scientists recognize that different cultures have different moral codes, many as well as I believe that there is such a thing as a “natural right”1, that which everything and anything that violates that “right” can be considered universally wrong (Harman 367). ...Show more


Author’s Name Subject/ Course Number Date Submitted Cultural Relativism: When culture dictates which is left, and which is right When we try to interpret or understand something in the course of making an opinion about it, we often times use our own set of experiences and our own personal value systems derived from our community to arrive at a conclusion that eventually determines our attitudes towards the subject…
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Topic by yourself-ethics essay example
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