Cultural relativism

This essay has a total of 2079 words and 13 pages.

cultural relativism

Cultural Relativism

Cultural Relativism is an ethical theory to the effect that the rightness or wrongness of
an action depends exclusively on the standards of the actor's culture. According to
cultural relativism, the only kinds of reasons that are relevant for justifying moral
propositions are: (1) Standards of the actor's culture ; (2) Empirical propositions which
derive their relevance from the standards identified in (1) ; and (3) Definitions which
derive their relevance from the standards identified in (1) and the empirical propositions
identified in (2).



The following argument logically presupposes cultural relativism:
Maria lived in America.
Maria had a husband named Charles.
Charles died of natural causes.
Following Charles' death, Maria took her own life.
One of the standards of the American culture is that it is moral to kill
yourself at the death of your husband.

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It was moral for Maria to kill herself following the death of Charles.


This argument presupposes cultural relativism because the only kinds of reasons offered
for the conclusion are (1) Reasons that identify standards of the actor's culture, namely
"One of the standards of the American culture is that it is moral to kill yourself at the
death of your husband," and (2) Empirical propositions that derive their relevance from
the standards identified in (1), namely "Maria lived in America," "Maria had a husband
named Charles," "Charles died of natural causes," and "Following Charles' death, Maria
took her own life."



Individual Relativism

Individual Relativism is an ethical theory to the effect that the rightness or wrongness
of an action depends exclusively on the standards of the actor. According to individual
relativism, the only kinds of reasons that are relevant for justifying moral propositions
are: (1) Standards of the actor; (2) Empirical propositions which derive their relevance
from the standards identified in (1) ; and (3) Definitions which derive their relevance
from the standards identified in (1) and the empirical propositions identified in (2).



The following argument logically presupposes individual relativism:
One of the standards of john is that it is moral to rape and kill girls under the age of fourteen.
john did rape and kill girls under the age of fourteen.
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It was moral for john to rape and kill girls under the age of fourteen.

This argument presupposes individual relativism because the only kinds of reasons offered
for the conclusion are (1) Reasons that identify standards of the actor, namely "One of
the standards of the Steven is that it is moral to rape and kill girls under the age of
fourteen," and (2) Empirical propositions that derive their relevance from the standards
identified in (1), namely "Steven did rape and kill girls under the age of fourteen."






Ethical Egoism

Ethical Egoism is an ethical theory to the effect that the rightness or wrongness of an
action depends exclusively on the value of the consequences of the action for the actor.
According to ethical egoism, the only reasons that are relevant for justifying moral
propositions are (1) Empirical propositions which identify the consequences of actions for
the actor ; (2) Evaluative propositions which compare the value of the consequences
identified in (1) ; and (3) Definitions which derive their relevance from the empirical
propositions identified in (1) and the evaluative propositions identified in (2).



The following argument logically presupposes ethical egoism:
If Jim robs a supermarket, he will have enough money to buy a guitar.
If Jim does not rob a supermarket, he will not have enough money to buy a guitar.
Having enough money to buy the guitar is better for Jim than not having enough money to buy the guitar.
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It is moral for Jim to rob from a supermarket.

This argument logically presupposes ethical egoism because the only kinds of reasons
offered for the conclusion are (1) Empirical propositions which identify the consequences
of actions for the actor, namely "If Jim robs a supermarket, he will have enough money to
buy a guitar," and "If Jim does not rob a supermarket, he will not have enough money to
buy a guitar," and (2) evaluative propositions which compare the value of the consequences
identified in (1), namely "Having enough money to buy the guitar is better for Jim than
not having enough money to buy the guitar."




Act Utilitarianism

Act Utilitarianism is an ethical theory to the effect that the rightness or wrongness of
an action depends exclusively on the value of the consequences of the action for the
greatest number of people and no universal moral propositions are true--only particular
moral propositions can be true. According to act utilitarianism, the only reasons that are
relevant for justifying moral propositions are (1) Empirical propositions which identify
the consequences of actions for everyone ; (2) Evaluative propositions which compare the
value for the greatest number of people of the consequences identified in (1) ; and (3)
Definitions which derive their relevance from the empirical propositions identified in (1)
and the evaluative propositions identified in (2).



The following argument logically presupposes act utilitarianism:
If Katie commits suicide, the eight people in her immediate family will suffer.
If Katie does not commit suicide, she will be depressed and need heavy counseling.
Katie being depressed and needing heavy counseling is better for the
greatest number of people than eight people in her

immediate family suffering.
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It is immoral for Katie to commit suicide.

This argument logically presupposes act utilitarianism because the only kinds of reasons
offered for the conclusion are (1) Empirical propositions which identify the consequences
of actions for the actor, namely "If Katie commits suicide, the eight people in her
immediate family will suffer," and "If Katie does not commit suicide, she will be
depresses and need heavy counseling," and (2) evaluative propositions which compare the
value of the consequences identified in (1), namely "Katie being depressed and needing
heavy counseling is better for the greatest number of people than eight people in her
immediate family suffering."



Rule Utilitarianism
Rule Utilitarianism is an ethical theory to the effect that the rightness or wrongness of
an action depends exclusively on whether the action is consistent or inconsistent with a
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