updated 4 months ago

Discuss (a) ethical subjectivism and cultural relativism, and (b) what the relationship between the two is. (c) What are the implications of these ethical positions on classroom practices?

1 Answer
updated 4 months ago

Well, in a nutshell

a) Ethical subjectivism is theory, according to which, there are no absolutely true in the moral questions. It means there is now single way to say what is good and what is evil. Not the theory defines the moral norms, but the people who apply them. But different people have different feelings of what is right or wrong. That is why we cannot set single moral standards or laws, they are subjective. For example, in some cultures the arranged marriages for the underage girls are acceptable. It others – strictly unacceptable. From the ethical subjectivism perspective, both sides are right.

Cultural relativism is a principle that tells us to understand people’s beliefs, views and actions in the context of their culture. Well, it is often understood as somewhat that is offering to accept any kind of actions in our society since it is a part of someone’s outside culture. For example, let somebody stone a woman, because it agrees with their law. But that is a vulgar interpretation. To the contrary, according to cultural relativism, when we represent other culture, we should adjust to the society that hosts us. In other words, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

b) Some researchers believe that cultural relativism authorizes the ethical subjectivism. And in fact, there is some obvious link between them. CR tells us to estimate the people’s views and actions in accordance to their cultural background. CR tells us to respect their choice even if it goes against our beliefs. It echoes the ES, which insists that the moral issues cannot be evaluated by the single scale.

IMPORTANT: cultural relativism doesn’t deny the possibility of objective moral statements. It implies that there are some ethical laws that are universal and advocates human rights. To take into account a cultural background of an individual means to respect his/her right for cultural identity. Therefore, the CR is a basis for a tolerance. ES, in its turn, rather upholds the moral relativism that doesn’t admit any universal moral value, including tolerance.

Thus, cultural relativism is mistakenly considered as a definite basis for an ethical subjectivism.

c)The ES in the classroom can result in a conflict of different believes, and there will be no authoritative point to find a compromise.

The CR in the class will allow representatives of different cultures to respect each other and to feel confident as a part of the same group.