History And Introduction To Anthropology Philosophy Essay


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Relativism is a nurtured term that knowledge, truth morality exist in relation to culture, society or historical context and are not absolute. In simple words, Relativism is the concept that there are no absolute truths, validity or standards in the society. Whereas, cultural relativism is a perception in which individual beliefs and activities should be understood by others according to its own culture context. This school was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas, (Father of American Anthropology) in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students. Thus, Boas' student Melville Herskovits summed up the principle of cultural relativism thus: "Judgments are based on experience, and experience is interpreted by each individual in terms of his own enculturation."

In cultural relativists beliefs all culture are worthy, independent to do anything and free from any moral standards. There should not be universality in beliefs, knowledge, truth and moral values. Rights and wrongs are culture specific. What is considered moral or good in one society may be considered immoral in another and since no standard or universal moralities exist in the social world. For example, in Pakistani society, women have to cover her body parts. She is not permissible to smoke, drinking alcohol, having relations to some unknown friends. But in contrast of French a woman, who is free to smoke, drink and having friendships with anyone there are no restriction to cover her body.

Cultural relativism sees nothing inherently wrong or right with any cultural expression. It is also known as ethical relativism. In a specific culture, ethics are more important than truths or moralities. Cultural relativists believe that one society should not impose their ideas to others, rather abusing, terrifying, doing crimes etc. We have right to do anything, it can be right or wrong. I.e. there are no human rights universally. For example, cannibalism in Africa, this is a very heavy example to understand the perception of cultural relativism that this act is highly appreciated there and condemning all over the world.

According to this point of view, human are same in most of living but regionally, linguistically and environmentally things are differ to each other. There are no natural or cultural deficiencies, this is nurturing. There is no psychic unity and not unilinealism. Each culture is distinct and should be studied within its own particularity.

Truths are not absolute but relative. The key element is that my opinion, my choice, beliefs, norms, traditions and over all these my philosophy is correct. Individual very concepts of the true and the false will still have reference to his particular traditional custom. The life history of the individual is first and foremost an accommodation to the patterns and standards traditionally handed down in his community.

From the moment of his birth the ‘customs into which he is born shape his experience and behaviour. By the time he can talk, he is the little creature of his culture, and by the time he is grown and able to take part in its activities, its habits are his habits, its beliefs his beliefs, its impossibilities his impossibilities. Every child that is born into his group will share them with him, and no child born into one on the opposite side of the globe can ever achieve the thousandth part.

Cultural uniformity is a wrong concept and racism badly hinted by that time through Baosian school of thought, he was a reformist that s why biological race is not immutable. Cultural relativism opposes the ethnocentric views of a society. Where this principle gives modern thought to social world but there are some kinds of miserable licence to cruel societies or groups which are not acceptable contemporarily. Cultural relativism is the view that no culture is superior to any other culture when comparing systems of morality, law, politics, etc. It's the philosophical notion that all cultural beliefs are equally valid and that truth itself is relative, depending on the cultural environment. Those who hold to cultural relativism hold that all religious, ethical, aesthetic, and political beliefs are completely relative to the individual within a cultural identity. Relativism often includes moral relativism (ethics depend on a social construct), situational relativism (right or wrong is based on the particular situation), and cognitive relativism (truth itself has no objective standard) Cultural relativism is the philosophical belief that all cultural views are equally valid. However, if you test this position under general rules of logic, you soon discover that relativism is illogical and self-defeating. If relativism is true and all points of view are true, then the assertion that relativism is false is true. Is this contradictory? Yes. Is truth contradictory? No

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