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ethics

Emotion: A Gateway to Intercultural Ethics

in Current Issue/Views

by Salim Mustafa

The philosophical and sociological literature shows that there are three major approaches to intercultural ethics. Absolutist approaches try to impose an absolutist view on other cultures; these approaches are impractical as there is no wide agreement as to what is absolutely religiously authoritative, natural, historical or reasonable. Further, the problem worsens when absolutists try to claim their own culture and values are “universal”. It favours a unilinear model of cultural and ethical development. This is one of the major problems of absolutists approaches as it presumes all cultures pass along a single ray of development and meet on an absolute set up of norms and values. The next conception, i.e., cultural relativism, holds that different cultures have their own beliefs and norms which are incommensurable and, therefore, it is not possible to formulate any ethical principles that are acceptable and valid across all the cultures. It holds that different cultures follow a multi-linear and separate model of ethical conduct and development which cannot be united (Evanoff 3). But, all these approaches are insufficient in dealing with cultural differences and in establishing a cross cultural ethical principle. There are loopholes in each of these theories as shown above; their principles turn out to be incompatible with cultural plurality and universal ethical standards. When particulars are considered, universal ethics becomes impossible and when absolute criteria are formulated the diversity is ignored. Hence, these approaches fail to promote an ethics valid across cultures which do not ignore but respect diversity. Keep Reading

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