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Explain the difference between moral relativism and cultural relativism

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  • Essay length: 1474 words
  • Submitted: 19/10/2009
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AS and A Level Practical Questions

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Owen Taylor R.P.E. Essay 20th September 2008

a) Explain the difference between moral relativism and cultural relativism

Relativism is the principle that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual. Moral and cultural relativism are perceived by many as somewhat similar and are easily confused. However there is a substantial difference between the two, which will be explored in the following.

Cultural relativism is the manner that a person's attitude and conduct should be understood in terms of his or her culture. It explains the reasons why those from different cultures have a vastly different way of life.

Cultural diversity has been documented since the earliest times. The Greek historian Herodotus travelled around the world and found it vastly different from his native homeland "The customs of the Getae...when a baby is born the family sits around and mourns at the though of suffering it must in endure...but when somebody dies, they bury him with merriment and rejoicing" this exemplifies the gulf between beliefs throughout the world then. Now, there are still limitless different beliefs in the world. One of these is the death penalty.

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