ASSIGNMENT #2.  DUE IN CLASS ON MONDAY, JUNE 30. 

[15 POINTS—PAGE LIMIT IS TWO PAGES] 

 

(1) (7 Points) Describe a current cultural practice (or a cultural practice from earlier in history) that most people in the U.S. would regard as bizarre or shocking, but which is (or was at some time in the past) regarded by the members of the culture which engages (or engaged) in it as morally permissible, or even morally required.  You must base your description of the practice on a printed or online reference that would is generally regarded as a reliable source of information, and you must provide a citation to the reference.  [Choose an example not discussed in the text or in class.] 

 

            In answering the next two parts, you are not to assume the truth (or the falsity) of the normative beliefs of 20th century U.S. culture and you are not to assume the truth (or the falsity) of the moral beliefs of the culture that you described in part (1).  Of course, in your answers you always have the option of giving reasons for believing one or more of these moral beliefs to be true.  You simply cannot assume that any of them is true.

 

(2) (4 Points) [You must answer all four parts of this question.]  Do the facts described in your answer to question (1), including the fact that most people in the U.S. would regard it as bizarre or shocking, imply any of the following types of relativism:  (a) descriptive cultural relativism about particular judgments ; (b) normative cultural relativism about particular judgments; (c) metaphysical relativism; (d) epistemological relativism?  Explain your answers to parts (a)-(d) in a way that shows that you understand the types of relativism discussed (and you understand what "imply" means).

 

(3) (4 Points) [You must answer all four parts of this question.]  Do the facts described in your answer to question (1) provide at least some support for or some reason for believing any of the following types of relativism:  (a) descriptive cultural relativism about basic standards; (b) normative cultural relativism about basic standards; (c)  metaphysical relativism; (d) epistemological relativism?  Briefly explain your answers to parts (a)-(d).  [In this question, I am asking for your best judgment.  We do not have definitions for the terms 'support' or 'some reason for believing'.  Just tell me whether you think the facts described in answer to question (1) support any of the given alternatives or provide some reason for believing any of them, with a brief explanation of each of your answers.]

 

COME TO CLASS PREPARED TO DISCUSS YOUR ANSWERS.