DCC Catholic Households Discussion

Reading Assignments for the week:

Ethics (436-439)

Ruth Benedict: Morality is Relative ,440-445

James Rachels: Morality is Not Relative, 445-454

We now enter the ethics section of the course. There are some terms you will want to familiarize yourself.

Ethics is the study of the concepts and principles that underlie our evaluations of human actions into the categories of the morally permissible, the morally impermissible, and the morally obligatory.

Cultural relativism—the empirical or descriptive fact that some actions are permissible or obligatory in some societies but not in others.

Moral relativism is the view that an action is permissible or obligatory should rest upon the members of the society in which the action is to be performed.

Post Questions (2 parts)

Part 1

Ruth Benedict has this to say, “The vast majority of individuals in any group are shaped into the fashion of that culture. In other words, most individuals are plastic to the moulding force of the society into which they are born.”

Do you agree with Benedict’s opinion? Why? Can you think of an example of what Benedict suggests in your own culture or someone else?


Part 2

James Rachels reports that The Greeks bury their dead, and the Callatians eat the bodies of their dead fathers. Persian King Darius asked the Greeks if they would eat their dead? They were mortified. When the Callatians were asked if they would burn their dead father’s bodies; they were horrified.

Which culture, the Greeks or the Callatians, is the superior one? Can one culture truly be superior than another? Why? Is there a way to resolve different and conflicting practices between different cultures?