What makes us special?

In our Philosophy class yesterday, we discussed the idea of Cultural Relativism: the notion that good and bad (right and wrong) is relative to culture. For example, in some cultures it is appropriate to commit sacrifice for a greater good, but in American cultures that would be considered immoral. Cultural relativism seems to explain a lot, such as the societal differences in law between cultures and how cultures came to adopt these values. Cultural relativism, however, creates many questions in the mind of the ‘humble’ American. What makes us special? In other words, what makes our progress important or relevant? Have we made any progress? And furthermore, why do we engage in fields such as philosophy? How can we dare explain the minds of others when their minds are so different from our own? The crisis created by cultural relativism is inevitable, and it forces one to wonder: is this explanation worth it? Essentially, yes. The human mind focuses on itself rather than others, so the provincial view provided by cultural relativism is not far from what has been practiced in the past. With the view of cultural relativism, we will finally stop interfering with the lives of others, as we have done so well in the past. (See: Imperialism)

22 thoughts on “What makes us special?

  1. I agree with you that cultural relativism does allow us to view other cultures in a different perspective but I don’t think we can stop ourselves from interfering with the lives of others. I’m taking this sociology class where we’re learning about ethnocentrism which is the tendency to use your own culture as the standard by which to judge and evaluate other cultures. I think it’s inevitable to compare other cultures to your own and want to change others especially once you see the negative effects of their culture.

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