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Morality and Cultural Differences - John W. Cook

Morality and Cultural Differences

Paperback Published: 1st May 1999
ISBN: 9780195126792
Number Of Pages: 224

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The scholars who defend or dispute moral relativism, the idea that a moral principle cannot be applied to people whose culture does not accept it, have concerned themselves with either the philosophical or anthropological aspects of relativism. This study shows that in order to arrive at a definitive appraisal of moral relativism, it is necessary to understand and investigate both its anthropological and philosophical aspects. Carefully examining the arguments for and against moral relativism, Cook exposes not only that anthropologists have failed in their attempt to support relativism with evidence of cultural differences, but that moral absolutists have been equally unsuccessful in their attempts to refute it. He argues that these conflicting positions are both guilty of an artificial and unrealistic view of morality and proposes a more subtle and complex account of morality.

prefacep. vii
Introductionp. 3
The Claims of Moral Relativismp. 5
Moral Relativism Versus Moral Absolutismp. 7
Moral Relativism: A Statement of the Doctrinep. 13
Further Misconceptions About Moral Relativismp. 24
The Paradoxes of Relativismp. 32
Anthropology and Moral Relativismp. 49
The History of Relativism in Anthropologyp. 51
Boas's Criticisms of Cultural Evolutionismp. 56
Boas's Methodological Insightsp. 62
Relativism and Ethnocentrismp. 76
Is There Evidence Supporting Moral Relativism?p. 82
Some Obvious Instances of the Projection Errorp. 93
The Projection Error as a Source of Moral Relativismp. 102
Pulling the Strands Togetherp. 106
Philosophy and Moral Relativismp. 109
Westermarck's Concession and the Philosophical Argument for Relativismp. 111
A Preliminary Assessment of the Philosophical Argumentp. 116
What is Morality?p. 125
Problems in the Philosophical Description of Moralityp. 130
Enculturative Conditioningp. 139
Islandia and Despondp. 145
A Final Look at the Relativist's Argumentp. 160
Our Relation to Other Culturesp. 165
Appendicesp. 171
Notesp. 175
Indexp. 201
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195126792
ISBN-10: 0195126793
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st May 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.45