This paper criticises the concept of culture as deployed within debates on moral relativism, arguing for a greater appreciation of the role of power in the production of a society's purportedly 'moral' norms. The argument is developed in three stages: (1) analysis of the relation between ideology and morality, noting that the concept of morality excludes self-serving moral claims and justifications; (2) analysis of the concept of culture, drawing attention to an ambiguity in its usage and to the hierarchical social structures within which the actual bodies of cultures are produced and reproduced; and (3) contention that (1) and (2) provide the basis for a radical and socially effective species of immanent critique: the exposure of existing norms and institutions purported to be morally justified as masks for the self-interest of elite groups.
The Concept of Secular Philosophical Grounding
Jaan S. Islam
liberal, secular cosmopolitanism as logically superior to moral relativism. Methodology and the ‘Ideological Test’ There are a number of preliminary remarks that should be made prior to the critique. First, regarding the scope of the inquiry, I
Peter Jones, Michael Butler, Taylor Smith, Matthew C. Eshleman, and David Detmer
Three articles analyze David Detmer’s first book on Sartre, Freedom as a Value. Peter Jones argues that Sartre uses freedom in only one sense, as freedom to choose, whereas Detmer argues that Sartre distinguishes between freedom of choice (“ontological freedom”) and freedom of obtaining (“practical freedom”). Michael Butler’s paper contends that under a Sartrean framework, any moral judgment we make regarding our own action is never final; the meaning and moral value of our past actions always remains reinterpretable in light of what unfolds in the future. Our interactions with other people reveal that we are responsible for far more than we had initially supposed ourselves to be choosing when we began our project, such that it is in fact impossible to ever finish taking responsibility completely. Taylor Smith and Matthew Eshleman tackle Sartre’s supposed “subjectivism” from the opposite angle. They agree with Detmer that Sartre’s belief that values are mind-dependent does not necessarily entail ethical subjectivism, but argue that even the early Sartre was more fully committed to a cognitivist view of normative justification than Detmer allows. Detmer’s replies to all three essays round out this section and this issue.
Christian B. Miller
While Richard Rorty’s general views on truth, objectivity, and relativism continue to attract much attention from professional philosophers, some of his contributions to ethical theory have thus far been remarkably neglected. In other work, I have begun the task of sketching what a Rortyan approach to traditional questions in meta-ethics might look like.1 Here, however, I shall attempt to summarize and evaluate some of the contributions that Rorty has made to important debates in first-order normative theory. More specifically, my attention will be devoted primarily to the question of what moral obligations of respect and tolerance, if any, we have towards those who act out of moral frameworks which are divergent from our own. The paper proceeds in three parts. In the first section, I suggest that one promising way of approaching ethical issues about tolerance is through the somewhat novel strategy of first clearly differentiating the various forms of moral relativism. With this background in place, we can then proceed in section two to the details of Rorty’s own view. Finally, the paper concludes with some worries about the plausibility, coherence, and stability of Rorty’s positive proposal.
The Private, the Public and the Political
both theory and experience teach us that there cannot be a unitary account of morality, and thus that coherent human activity in different realms of action is problematic and requires philosophical attention. Finally, philosophies of moral relativism
performance of their profession can bring on, their answers, which are meant to resolve or at least disarm such conflicts, seem as unsatisfying as anthropologists invoking “methodological relativism” (as opposed to moral relativism) to calm the nerves of their
One Path to Positive Anthropological Activism
Aaron L. Miller
one of two things: either (a) ‘All truth claims are equally valid’ (relativism) or (b) ‘All truth claims are reducible to existing power hierarchies or to underlying power moves’ (nihilism) ( Hale 2006 ). Moral relativism, however, is insufficient, and
The Role of Bodily Integrity
Mar Cabezas and Gottfried Schweiger
mean falling into moral relativism but, rather, it offers an ethical threshold that should not be surpassed for the sake of respecting cultural differences. In other words, cultural differences should be respected until they threaten to violate the
Pegida and the Rise of Cultural Nationalism
David N. Coury
, and, second, that this tradition is under threat both from Islam as well as left-leaning multiculturalists who embrace a kind of moral relativism that places all religions and their value systems on the same plane. Christian Europe is thus seen as a
Sartre against Moral Relativism” in Sartre Studies International , 21:2, 2015. 28 Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity , Tras. Bernard Frechtman, (New York: Citadel, 1976 ). See especially Chapter One. 29 See Time magazine (July 31, 1973