Ruth Benedict – A Defense of Moral Relativism

No sources needed. No MLA style needed. Opinion based. Extremely short responses is all that is required.

  1. Do you think that the fact of cultural diversity is itself an argument for ethical relativism? Why or why not?
  2. If Benedict’s defense of ethical relativism is correct, then the correct way to resolve a personal dilemma might be to take a survey or poll to see what the majority in your society think is right. If the majority favor capital punishment and oppose abortion, for example, then capital punishment is right and abortion is wrong. Can you defend Benedict against this odd consequence? Explain why or why not?
  3. Do you think that certain types of behavior (for example, executing children or beating animals to death) are wrong wherever they occur, despite attitudes prevailing in the societies that practice them? If you believe that such acts are universally wrong, what makes them wrong?
  4. How might Benedict account for notions of moral enlightenment and moral progress?

Post your thoughts and comments to all the above questions after reading and considering the article by Ruth Benedict.

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