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Edvard Alexander Westermarck

(1862—1939) anthropologist, sociologist, and philosopher


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(1862–1939)

Finnish anthropologist who wrote on the diversity of moral systems. Westermark espoused a kind of relativism, although without an account of what the truth of a moral statement actually consisted in. He saw the importance of emotion and culture in defining moral systems, without the Englightenment or Kantian confidence either in a universal human nature or a universal reason. Works included The Origin and Development of Moral Ideas (1906) and Ethical Relativity (1932).

Subjects: Philosophy.


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