The Argument from Ethical Relativism

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI:
The Argument from Ethical Relativism

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This chapter examines the argument that human rights may be Western in the sense that any moral or ethical system is relative to the culture in which it is found. This larger doctrine of ethical relativism renders the doctrine of human rights culturally specific to the West and therefore less than universal. To establish and assess the view that human rights are Western in this sense, one will have to follow two steps. First, one will have to establish how human rights are Western in an ethically relevant sense. Second, one will have to establish how they cannot be adequately explained in terms of the three universalist positions—the Kantian, the utilitarian, and the contractual.

Keywords: human rights; moral system; ethical system; ethical relativism; universalism; Kant; utilitarian position; contractual position

Chapter.  3156 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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