Ethical and Cultural Relativism

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Ethical and Cultural Relativism

Ethical relativism can be defined as a tendency to make the ethical options or choices on a pure basis of what looks reasonable or right as per one’s own evaluations and personal belief of the value system. This is a prescriptive idea or view that different people and groups of people should have ethical standards, which are differing for the evaluation of acts where the acts are wrong or right. As well, the beliefs, which appear as different from each other, appear to be true in different circumstances or as attached may not apply as a basic moral obligation or principle for the persons on what guides them is inner evaluations. On a specific term, the ethical relativism argues, An absolute ethical standard has never been proved beyond doubt in the history of thought. From the above argument, it becomes known that absolute ethical standard may not exist is very wrong, and this is because people tend to pull strings differently to mean there is no common agreement on what should be done.

However, there are some objections about this and have become inconsistent to assume the same practice can be considered proper in one area or society while the other society considers it morally wrong. Majorly, it is difficult not to have one common stand on what people believe as ethical standard, and in most cases people have a common understanding on what befalls them or what they are supposed to do. That is when the cultural attributions or the cultural standards come in and which are believed to be very true. For instant, it is impossible to refer to an animal using different names or the same animal being given different attributions by societies.

The cultural relativism is often referred to as the sociological relativism, and this is a descriptive idea or view that different groups of people have different moral standards for the evaluation of some acts as either wrong or right. This means that this is just a cultural attribution and not an ethical consideration where, it is possible that cultural beliefs can be different but the ethics are usually common to all societies. For example, it is possible that people have different understanding of something, but the ethics or moral standards that go along with the identified thing cannot vary by a large margin. It is impossible for something to be taken differently in terms of moral standards; however, the same thing can be given different cultural attributions or meanings depending on how the community or the society views the object. If the communities view the object as having demeanor attributions, then, the thinking is negative of the object; but another community could view it as good.

The cultural relativism has two major arguments; first, that different cultures differ on the basics of moral on basic moral principles and this is to mean that how a community attributes something is different from the other community; however, this is less obvious and not common. The other observation of the same is that it is possible to have different basic moral principles about different communities. For example, in the biblical readings, there was the mention of ‘an eye for an eye’ and this could be interpreted differently depending on the cultural attributions on the same. Some of the communities would mean that people should love each other regardless of the differences they have while other communities may give this to mean brutally going for each other.

A social contract theory is a kind of theory that deals with business ethics and which was founded by Thomas Donaldson in conjunction with Thomas Dunfee, and this is heavily influenced by the social contract theories of the political philosophers. Its origin was that people traded their rights so that they can be protected by the government, and this is mostly famous in the theories of John Locke; and English philosopher and political analyst. Generally, the theory posits that in early times, man lived in a state of nature and by then, no government existed. Before the coming of the government, man lived by his power, and therefore, the coming of the government was merely to provide protection while man would keep it in place, and that is why the theory is called social contract a mutual contract between people and the governors/government. It can be noted that in the maintenance of the social contract especially in business theory and practice, there exists pros and cons in this, and the major argument is that some of the provisions are admissible while others are very not applicable in business practice.

The Pros. When applicable to business, there is a kind of mutual gains in this; and mostly when this is put in terms of corporate social responsibility. The business theory highlights the strategies and the methods that are used to bring good returns for the business, and one of the proposed measures is to have corporate social responsibility. The idea of mutual gains is welcome, as the business would give out to the public in expectation of big returns. The idea of business selling is also favorable to business and especially putting in mind that the persons who engage into this contract are potential customers for the business and cannot be wished away as ones who cannot contribute to its success. If we have people who gets the benefits from the company through corporate social responsibilities, the members helped in one way or another come to like the company and make other people realize how the business is. Social contracts make sure that no particular party is harmed; where, without these social contracts, there would be violations of the business ethics while the public who are not helped may disregard the existence of the company or to some extent engage in cut through competition to have the company alienated.

The Cons. Contracts are usually characterized with deceptive; for example, the company or the business may promise to provide what it has at disposal to improve the livelihood of persons. However, due to some changes in economic terms, the company may withdraw and this would be interpreted to mean deception on the sides of the company. The publics who enter into social contracts with the business may not retaliate or they may not show appreciation as expected by buying the goods and services from the company. This would mean that one party has not kept the promise and the cutting of this social contract may have far-reaching repercussions. The conception of social contracts was based on having mutual benefits; and this means that no particular party gets more than the other; and therefore, in most cases, the business which enters into social contracts get to benefit more than the other parties. That is to mean that the business enters into these contracts with a mind of ripping huge from the publics and implies that there are hidden practices in these social contracts.


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