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Cultural Relativism: A Seductive Yet Disturbing Theory

What Is Cultural Relativism and Why Does It Matter?

You likely believe that certain acts are morally wrong no matter what culture a person lives in. This might include things like murder, stealing, and genocide. Cultural relativism challenges your belief. It holds there are no universal moral truths that hold across cultures. Moral truths only hold relative to particular cultures. 

In this post, you’ll learn about philosopher James Rachels’ objections to cultural relativism so you can keep on believing that, say, genocide is wrong no matter what culture a person happens to live in.

This is the sixth episode in the Exploring Ethics Series. A link to the other videos in the series is in the description. My name is Christopher Michael Cloos. I have a PhD in philosophy and taught ethics at the university-level for many years. Now I teach philosophy online, and I’m glad I get to explore cultural relativism with you today. Let’s jump in.

Key Commitments of...

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Morality is Independent of God

In this post, you’ll learn how philosopher Steven M. Cahn argues that morality is independent of God. He argues that God’s existence is no guide to what’s right and wrong. It’s not a moral compass. And he argues that morality doesn’t depend on God for its justification. As Cahn concludes, “regardless of our religious commitments, the moral dimension of our lives remains to be explored.”

Yet his argument rests on Plato’s famous Euthyphro Dilemma. After discussing the dilemma a solution to the dilemma is presented. Welcome to The Philosophical Life.

Watch a video version of this post below, or scroll down to read the post.

Methodology Moment 

Cahn’s opening move is worth learning from as a powerful way to do philosophy. Let’s explore it in a “methodology moment.” 

Cahn’s opponent is a theist that thinks morality crucially depends on God. Instead of arguing against the theist by claiming that God...

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Public Health Ethics: Coronavirus and The Moral Justification of "Shelter in Place" Policies

As Coronavirus spreads throughout communities around the globe, “shelter in place” policies are being mandated to help flatten the curve of the spread of the virus. Such policies violate the moral consideration of autonomy or freedom of movement.

But I argue that shelter in place policies are likely morally justified based on 5 factors for resolving moral conflicts in imposing public health policies. The five factors are effectiveness, proportionality, necessity, least infringement, and public justification.

Welcome to this special episode in the Exploring Ethics Series. Watch the video below.

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From Almost Flunking Out to Getting My PhD and Founding The Philosophical Life

It was my junior year of college. I received a letter from the university. It was not good. I was placed on academic probation. I was steps away from failing out of school.
But I discovered something. I discovered the major of philosophy: exploring big ideas, wrestling with important ethical issues. I was captivated. My grades turned around.
Fast-forward: I completed a master’s degree in philosophy and went on to achieve my PhD. Along the way I gained invaluable tools for sharp thinking, sharp learning, and better decision making that led to better living.
How did I go from almost flunking out to achieving my doctorate? What skills did I learn along the way? I’m excited to share with you what I learned!
I believe you’re only one logical train of thought away from things you desire out of life: growth, happiness, purpose, influence, and so on. If you’re ready when the moment strikes, you can use your mind to positively influence...
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