Cultural relativism essay topics

Aside from his editorial work at Science , Boas secured an appointment as docent in anthropology at Clark University , in 1888. Boas was concerned about university president G. Stanley Hall 's interference in his research, yet in 1889 he was appointed as the head of a newly created department of anthropology at Clark University. In the early 1890s, he went on a series of expeditions which were referred to as the Morris K. Jesup Expedition. The primary goal of these expeditions was to illuminate Asiatic-American relations. [38] [39] In 1892 Boas, along with another member of the Clark faculty, resigned in protest of the alleged infringement by Hall on academic freedom.

Stocking 1982 analyzes the emergence of American cultural anthropology, the rise of Franz Boas and his students, and their lasting influence. Kuper 1999 offers the most comprehensive overview of American cultural anthropology, though from a critical, social anthropological perspective dominant in Britain. The best overview of major French thinkers on the question of cultural diversity from Montaigne to Lévi-Strauss remains Todorov 1993 , which provides a good companion piece to overviews of cultural relativism that largely focus on the United States. Shweder 1984 traces American cultural anthropology’s roots in German Romanticism. Hatch 1983 and Fernandez 1990 examine anthropology’s and especially Boasian anthropologists’ relationship to cultural relativism. Renteln 1988 provides a short but comprehensive overview of more general approaches to cultural relativism within and beyond anthropology.

So my version of relativism is pluralistic and attributes functions to morality that in combination with human nature place limits on what could count as a true morality. Unlike many other relativists, I do not hold that people are subject to a morality because they all belong to a certain group. That is, I don’t hold that being a member of a group makes one’s subject to some set of generally accepted norms. What is true is that others around us teach us morality and moral language, so they inevitably influence us. That is why there are moral traditions that share important values, shared interpretations of those values, and certain shared ways of prioritizing them. But even within those moral traditions there are disagreements that don’t bottom out in facts that decide the issues. We share much of the meaning and reference of our moral concepts with others around us, but we are subject to multiple influences of this kind, especially in pluralistic societies, so each of us may possess moral concepts that reflect this multiplicity of influence and the particular ways that we as individuals have absorbed and made sense of it for ourselves. That’s why accommodation is a value that needs to be present in all moralities that fulfill the interpersonal function.

Cultural relativism essay topics

cultural relativism essay topics


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