Anthropology and Moral Explanation

The Monist 47 (4):610-624 (1963)

Abstract

There are obvious grounds for the conjunction anthropology and ethics, proposed as the Monist topic. When philosophers teach or write ethics, material from alien ways of life illuminates and enriches the discussion, and sometimes helps chasten the urge to elevate local practises into universal principles. The question might then be raised: to what extent do anthropological discoveries affect the status and theories about the status of moral principles? The answer will affirm or take issue with that vaguely defined view, cultural relativism.

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