Cultural Relativism: Ruth Benedict Vs. Rachels

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Cultural Relativism: Ruth Benedict Vs. James Rachels Cultural relativism, the belief that all values are culturally determined, has been arguably one of the most debated philosophical questions ever supported and neglected by philosophers. More so, morality in its relation to cultural relativism has sparked compelling arguments and disagreements between philosophers and those who attempt to explain the moral truth. In a sense, moral relativism suggests that morality reflect merely the preferences and customs that emerge in a given culture. For Ruth Benedict, her approach on the defense for moral relativism was that there is no such thing as moral objectivity because values or moral norms differ from culture to culture. In other words, different cultures engage and follow their own moral standards and practices, indicating that morals and values are not objective by any means.…show more content…
Both Benedict and Rachels appears to have compelling reasoning in their arguments. I would argue, however, that Rachels has more logical merit in his argument that morality is not relative. Douglas J. Soccio, author of Archetypes Of Wisdom, in his explanation of cultural relativism, states that "what's right for you may very well be different from what's right for people of different ages and backgrounds" (73). Ruth Benedict's position as to whether morality is relative was built upon the cultural differences argument. The cultural differences argument merely claims that people's moral reasoning differ from one culture to another, that objective moral standards does not exist as moral codes are relative to culture. In other words, moral truth is merely a matter of opinion which varies depending on a society's culture and its preferences of belief. In an attempt to support her claim, Benedict

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