An introduction to the concept of cultural relativism

Nationalism, racism, and exoticism in French thought. This allows the anthropologist to become better established in the community. In sociology, the concept is practiced to overcome the problem of cultural bias that has plagued research. What is cultural relativism.

Edited by Richard A. Through this methodology, greater insight can be gained when examining the impact of world-systems on local and global communities. Prescriptive or moral relativism holds that because we are all formed in culture, there is no Archimedean point from which to evaluate objectively, and so we must not judge other cultures using our own cultural norms.

In this sense, conceptual relativism is often characterized as a metaphysical doctrine rather than as variant of epistemic or cultural relativism.

In most African homes, it is never breakfast without a cup of tea, coffee, or porridge, whereas in the US a typical breakfast consists of cereals, milk, and sandwiches loaded with eggs and bacon. As Putnam puts it: Typically, the anthropologist lives among people in another society for a period of time, simultaneously participating in and observing the social and cultural life of the group.

Latter half of the article takes up the question of contemporary human rights, arguing that cultural relativism is compatible with cross-cultural universals.

Cultural anthropology

These two approaches frequently converged and generally complemented one another. One common criticism of participant observation is its lack of objectivity. One crucial question facing epistemic relativism is how to identify and individuate alternative epistemic systems.

Critics of cultural relativism argue that there must be some unquestionable absolutes of right and wrong despite the culture of a society. Truth is not subjective John A second strand of the self-refutation argument focuses on the nature and role of truth. If we relate logic to the psychology of reasoning we shall be inclined to say that they have the same logic; if we relate logic more closely to the institutional framework of thought then we shall incline to the view that the two cultures have different logics.

Such an effort at persuasions, however, could involve Protagoras in a performative contradiction as the relativist cannot assume that her arguments are good for persuading others.

So, once we accept the insight that there is no Archimedean vantage point for choosing among conflicting frameworks, we no longer face a genuine contradiction. Anti-relativist philosophers of science are often willing to concede all three points above, but insist that they do not, singly or jointly, justify the claim that scientific knowledge, in any philosophically interesting sense, is relative to its context of production.

Cultural relativism is widely accepted in modern anthropology.

Cultural relativism

Hesse and Bloor have claimed that underdetermination shows the necessity for bringing noncognitive, social factors into play in explaining the theory choices of scientists on the grounds that methodological and evidential considerations alone are demonstrably insufficient to account for such choices.

Introduction; General Overviews; Early Writing on Human Diversity This new theorization of the culture concept led to a multifaceted approach to studying human diversity called cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is an umbrella term that covers different attitudes, though it relies on a basic notion of emic coherence: Each culture.

Cultural relativism is the ability to understand a culture on its own terms and not to make judgments using the standards of one’s own culture.

The goal of this is promote understanding of cultural practices that are not typically part of one’s own culture.


Cultural relativism is a complex concept that has its intellectual roots in discussions about relativism in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language. Relativism is typically viewed. Cultural relativism is widely accepted in modern anthropology.

Cultural Relativism

Cultural relativists believe that all cultures are worthy in their own right and are of equal value. Diversity of cultures, even those with conflicting moral beliefs, is not to be considered in terms of right and wrong or good and bad.

Cultural relativism is an umbrella term that covers different attitudes, though it relies on a basic notion of emic coherence: Each culture works in its own way, and beliefs and practices that appear strange from the outside make sense when contextualized within their particular cultural framework.

A competing idea, cultural relativism is the belief that the culture of people serves particular needs and must be looked at in terms of the world the people inhabit. This is often the perspective.

An introduction to the concept of cultural relativism
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Cultural relativism - Wikipedia