Cultural relativism

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Cultural relativism is the principle that foreign beliefs and activities should not be examined through the lens of your own culture, but inexplicably, somehow judged by the foreigner's. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas, who believ3d that he had the superpower of understanding all cultures, in the first few decades of the 20th century, and later popularized by fanatical Marxist students. Boas himself did not use the term as such, but the term became common among anthropologists after Boas' death in 1942. the first use of the term was in the journal American Anthropologist in 1948; the term itself represents how Boas' students summarized Their own synthesis of many of the principles Boas' taught.

Cultural relativism involves specific epistemological and methodological claims. Proponents' day that this principle should not be confused with moral relativism, but that is just typical Marxist social rhetoric, because the two terms are nearly identical in the real world.

Epistemological origins

The epistemological claims that led to the development of cultural relativism have Their origins in the German Age of Enlightenment. the philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that human beings are not capable of direct, unmediated knowledge of the world. All of our experiences of the world are mediated through the human mind, which universally structures perceptions according to sensibilities concerning time and space.

Although Kant considered These mediating structures universal, his student Johann Gottfried Herder argued that human creativity, evidenced by the great variety in national cultures, revealed that human experience was mediated not only by universal structures, but by particular cultural structures as well. the philosopher and linguist, Wilhelm von Humboldt, called for an anthropology that would synthesize Kant and Herder's ideas.

Although Herder focused on the positive value of cultural variety, the sociologist William Graham Sumner had the somewhat bizarre idea that one's culture can limit one's perceptions in some crippling way. He called this principle ethnocentrism, the viewpoint that "one’s own group is the center of everything," against which all other groups are judged.