Understanding Cultural Relativism: A critical Appraisal of the Theory

Yohannes Eshetu

Abstract


The aim of this review article is to reveal the cons and pros of ethical relativism, especially conventionalism. This article is written with the intention of showing some of the practical upshots of conventionalism without totally denying some of its virtues in a world where diversity of cultures and customs is apparent. The article inquires the question: Is ethical relativism tenable? The review article relies on reviewing secondary sources. What I am arguing in this article is that despite the attraction of ethical relativism as an intellectual weapon to fight against ethnocentrism and cultural intolerance, the view still goes against the idea of intercultural comparison, criticism and moral argumentation, so that it would have serious disastrous implication on practice, especially on the universal character of human rights and shutters all together any sort of moral progress and reform. The article concludes that we can set forth certain objective moral codes, discovered through rational intercultural dialogue and discussion which could be applied regardless of cultural specificities upon which cultural inter-comparison, discussion and moral argumentation is possible.


Keywords


Conventionalism; Ethical relativism; Ethical subjectivism; Ethical objectivism

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v4i6.121

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