ARE MORAL STANDARDS RELATIVE? Ethics are moral principles or values that specify acceptable conduct, and determine how an institution will be governed. According to Shanahan and Wang, in their book Reason and Insight, the subject of ethics is morality, which is concerned with the practices, judgments, principles, and beliefs that guide peoples actions. It attempts to address the issue of how we ought to live. Many people have different values that guide their lives, but some of these values are better supported than others. Since people have different morals and values, it is important to distinguish between cultural and moral relativism. First, I will explain the difference between moral and cultural relativism. Next, I will indicate the claims that are supposed to follow from cultural relativism. Then I will explain one of the claims and show Shanahan and Wangs argument against this claim. Lastly, I will show why Shanahan and Wangs argument for this claim are true, and why I accept it. We grow up in a social atmosphere that tells us what is right and wrong. If our own personal morality is different from another cultures, we tend to believe that they are wrong, and our cultural views of morality hold more merit. Societies, in general, must adhere to certain core values for them to exist. However, not all societies value the same morals. With this in mind, moral relativism is the theory that all moral perspectives are equally acceptable. What may be acceptable in one culture may not be acceptable in another, and neither is objectively right. Cultural relativism ascertains that moral standards differ from one culture to the next. It says that good and bad are relative to culture. What is good is what is socially approved in a given culture. Cultural relativism holds that good means what is socially approved by the majority in a given culture. This means that anyone wh…
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