Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Arts
relativism, anthropologist, moral, benedict, paper
This paper explores the extent to which the anthropologist’s methodological approach of cultural relativism relates to the philosopher’s theory of moral relativism. Ultimately, we find that there is no logical connection between the two, but some anthropologists tend to hold both. The premier example is Ruth Benedict, who is frequently the subject of philosophical discussion attempting to show the implausibility of the moral relativist’s view. In this paper, I attempt to give the anthropologist, like Benedict, a form of moral relativism which is 1. defensible against common attacks, and 2. intuitively appealing to the anthropologist. Ultimately, I propose David Wong’s pluralistic relativism as a likely contender for meeting these two goals. Furthermore, I explain what the anthropologist who accepts Wong’s theoretical position is committed to in practice, examining both the debate surrounding applied anthropology and the challenges of certain ethical dilemmas.
Schwartz, Laura A., "Moral relativism : a philosophical analysis for the anthropologist" (2010). Honors Theses. 1222.