Ethical Relativism

Topics: Cultural relativism, Morality, Anthropology Pages: 2 (714 words) Published: September 21, 2010
Ruth Benedict was considered a founding figure of American anthropologist and Benedict taught at Columbia University. Benedict was partially deaf. She has written many books, many of her books were published, and she is very well known. Benedict views social systems as communities with common beliefs. She believes that one system cannot be better than another. I agree with Benedict’s claim that morality is simply whatever a culture deems normal behavior. It is definitely a satisfactory equation and she shows many great points on why.

Benedict has great points on why to accept others moral beliefs even though it may conflict with yours. In Benedict’s view, and in the view of American anthropology of the time, each culture is self-contained, and separate but equal. Each makes sense in its own context, and all you have to do is know the context to understand what the people are doing and why they are doing it. In a simpler term she is saying that you cannot say ones She never believed that there was a “universal” to a variety of human moral standards.

Looking at Benedict’s beliefs and applying it to the institution of slavery and the Nazi policy of anti-Semitism and it does indeed make sense. I cannot apply it with my beliefs because I was taught that killing others is bad and that everyone in the world is equal. If you do look at it in a person that agrees with the Nazi policy it makes sense. They believed that the Jews were the problem and a majority of people agreed which made the killings occur. They found that morally correct. As well as slavery, when African American’s were slaves white people found it morally correct to “own a slave”. Most of the United States found that normal. In Benedict’s view we cannot say that Manukyan

slavery was morally incorrect because at that time it slavery was considered morally correct. It might not seem as the right thing to do, but back then the culture deemed that as a normal behavior.

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