I intend to explain my position on cultural relativism and whether I believe it to be the best judge of moral values. Culture Relativism claims that the correct moral standards are relative to cultures or societies. While subjectivists do think that the right answers to ethics lay and are relative to each individual person’s values, cultural relativism will instead state that the ultimate standard of morality lays within each culture’s commitments instead of individual values. In other words, our morals are based on the values that our society believes to be correct.
Morality is also something that was “created” by humans for humans. If it wasn’t for humans, we’d have no questions about morals. They are a set of rules and guidelines by which we live because society has developed them over the years to tell us what is right and what is believed to be wrong. Morals were invented to guide our decisions between right and wrong and no other species has these sets of rules. When humans perish from the earth so will what we believe to be right and wrong.
The first problem with cultural relativism is that it can’t allow for consistent disagreements within the individuals own social code, in other words as long as a society can make any moral mistakes then the society’s approval is not going to be enough to show that something is good morally.
The second problem with cultural relativism is not a very good in defending tolerance. In most societies, tolerance isn’t favored so relativism tells us that intolerance within those societies is a good thing. We cannot teach tolerance when cultural relativism doesn’t defend it.
Cultural relativism teaches us that what we as a society believe is correct is good and what we object to as a whole is bad. We raise our kids in the same manner and with the same beliefs with which we were raised without pausing to rethink or reteach an issue because that is what we were taught was right and wrong. For example, suppose that you were raised to believe interracial marriages were wrong because it was intolerated. In cultural relativism you also have to accept that that type of racial intolerance is a good. If you accept the premise you’d have to accept the conclusion as well or else you’d be rejecting cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is also intolerant toward minority views which are deemed wrong automatically.
If we were to accept cultural relativism, we would raise our kids to think and live by the norms of our society. We would essentially be teaching our kids and the generations to follow conformity. A perfect example of this is in the book, “The Ethical Life” by Russ Shafer-Landau, “My Nazi society approves of racism, so racism is good.” Is that truly how we would want to raise our next generation? Or those that will follow?
In conclusion, I do not believe in cultural relativism is the best to judge moral rights and wrongs. If does not teach tolerance and it does not favor the views of minorities then we are going to continue to raise a society of intolerable individuals who believe that any minority views are wrong… wait a minute, aren’t we doing that now?
My Take on Mackie’s Argument from
What I am about to attempt to do is give
my interpretation of Mackie’s Argument from Queerness and why I believe that he
is correct in concluding that his theory is the only plausible metaethical theory.
According to J. L. Mackie’s excerpt from
his book Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (1977) he believes and he outlines
the ideas and arguments for his error theory. He believes that all moral talk
is based on the false assumption: that there are objective moral values. Mackie’s
error theory is a position characterized by his commitment to two propositions.
The first is again that all moral claims are false and the second is that we
have reason to believe that all moral claims are false.
In Mackie’s argument from queerness he
explains that his argument from queerness has two parts. A metaphysical saying
that if there were to be objective values then they would be in two entities or
qualities or relations of a very strange sort and would be very different from
anything else in the universe. The second part is an epistemological one which
states that if we were aware of them, then we would have to be by some special
faculty or more perception or intuition which would be utterly different from
ordinary ways of knowing everything else. In the metaphysical part of the argument from
queerness, Mackie argues that objective values, including objective moral
values, do not exist because they are metaphysically anomalous. In this
he assumes that moral objectivism entails nonnaturalism, which Mackie considers
ontologically queer. Secondly, if moral
objectivism were true, then internalism about moral motivation would also be
Ethical objectivism is the view that some
moral standards are objectively correct and that some moral claims are objectively
I perceived that the error theory to mean that
it is a cognitivist form of moral nihilism. It’s the view that ethical
statements can be propositions. Although
all ethical propositions are to be false or cannot be true and that we are
generally in error when we make any moral statement.
In conclusion, I tend to believe in Mackie’s
views and I think that his error theory to be correct and the most plausible one.
I think the main reason for this line of
thinking for me is that I do not believe that all of our moral rights and wrong
are correct at any time. No matter what our
morals are we will always be countered with an opposing view. No matter how much we agree or disagree with one
another we will always have a counter-argument from other individuals..