Culture Relativism states that we cannot absolute say what is right and what is wrong because it all depends in the society we live in. James Rachels however. James Rachels summarizes the former theory into one brief statement: “Different cultures have different moral codes.” (Rachels, 18) Ethical relativism. Cultural Relativism. Morality differs in every society, and is a convenient term for socially approved habits. Ruth Benedict, PATTERNS OF CULTURE ().

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As a result, he makes assumptions on the lack of differences among cultures that should not be made. The tradition is it own warrant.

Cultural Relativism

To support his argument, he uses multiple examples. For example, we would not be able to condemn cultures that enslave people or that commit genocide. Paradox and Discovery, Fifth Edition, p. Therefore, there is no objective ‘truth’ in morality. He had no desire to mask rachells true personality and conform to the tendencies of his culture. Together, they address the entirety of cultural relativism and what concrete rules lie beneath the rcahels actions of members of cultures around the world.

There is nothing moral about whether or not Earth is flat—it has been scientifically proven that Earth is an oblate spheroid. According to Benedict, all cultures and their people start out with a persuasion in one direction of moral standards.

In general, senseless murder is to be regarded as a negative action that is detrimental relayivism the furthering of society.

For instance, if one society believes that the earth is jqmes and another that it is spherical, we should not conclude that there is no objective truth about the shape of the earth. Rachels is correct in his belief telativism there are many aspects of cultures that are not exclusive to specific cultures.


This duty is part of the general custodial duty of parents to help, instruct, and preserve their offspring, a duty addressed by British philosopher, John Locke, more than three hundred years ago in his Second Treatise of Government.

Cultural Relativism: James Rachels vs. Ruth Benedict | Gordon Hemsley –

While it would be considered morally repugnant in our society to feel good after completing such an endeavor, those involved in the war party and the killings felt good upon their return to Sebaa.

It does not, however, indicate a lack of cultural relativism, as the simple need to conduct infanticide in order to survive may be exclusive to the Eskimo culture. They are often, as Benedict claims, simply due to habits that have evolved over time to embody the specific culture in which they are conducted. Skip to main content.

In fact, it may be argued that even those cultures that share such a belief do not have any reason to. Therefore, killing female babies at birth helps to keep the population from becoming skewed overwhelmingly female, and helps to reduce the burden on the family during travel. There are some characteristics of cultures that are not based upon any universal moral code.


The conclusion, however, concerns what really is the case. Here is the argument: Rachels translates cultural relativism into the fact moral ethics are not universal—they are simply a matter of opinion that differs from culture to culture.

Skip to main content. Rachels covers the topics and examples of cultural relativism within the relativlsm area of the spectrum, while Benedict covers those at the far ends. Together, the arguments made by both Rachels and Benedict amount to different cultures implementing different moral standards in an attempt to survive as a culture.


There, it was customary to respond to a death of a person by killing another person. Humans are more creatures of rachel than they are of universal morality. Neither group felt the other was correct. Log In Sign Up. Most of the actions that people relativims, and the things that they jammes, are not based on any underlying moral code.

Benedict supports the notion that the morals, ethics, and actions of different cultures of people are simply the result of many years of cultural evolution, through accidental isolation of and contact with other cultures. Rachels seems to draw most, if not all, of his examples in relation to our Western culture, failing to take into account the extreme examples that Benedict uses. Benedict, 36 Were he transplanted into—for instance—the United States, he would be considered normal; in his native land, however, he is abnormal.

Click here to sign up. A prominent ethical theory, cultural relativism, holds that the right or the good is the customary. Rachels argues that cultural relativism would continue to support the jzmes that, because there is a difference of a opinion, there cannot be one truly correct belief.