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Cultural Relativism

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Cultural relativism is the observation that no tradition is more important or superior than another when comparison is made concerning mortality, political affairs, and legal issues among other aspects of a community’s traditions. It is a theoretical idea that all traditional beliefs have equal validity and, at the same time, the truth in itself is relative basing on the traditional environment (Rachels, 2005). Relativists have the feeling that all ethical, devout, and political affairs are relative to different people within a traditional identity. Relativism, in this case, comprises of moral relativism like ethics based on social make up, situational relativism meaning that whether an idea is wrong or right it depends on a specific situation. More so, cognitive relativism provides that the truth itself lacks objective standards (Rachels, 2005).

According to James Rachels, one has no right to make judgment against any other community’s traditions. For example, Callatians, which is a tribe in India, used to feed on their dead fathers. On the other hand, the Greeks believed in cremation. They disposed off the dead bodies by burning.

When the Indians were asked about their view of cremation, they felt it was wrong and the Greeks, on the other hand, felt that it was an abomination to feed on the dead bodies of their fathers. Professor James used this example to show that all traditional beliefs can be good or bad. There is no one community’s beliefs that can be right or wrong over the other (Rachels, 2005).

James puts a cross a very crucial discussion that the truth is determined by the present situation and beliefs of a community. Cremation is right for the Greek and wrong for the Callatians. On the other hand, it is right for the Callatians to feed on their dead fathers’ bodies while it is wrong for the Greeks. In this case, the truth is relative. It can be either right or wrong depending on the situation and the community (Rachels, 2005).  

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