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Cultural relativism has been given at least two distinct definitions. On the one hand, “cultural relativism” is the view that an individual's beliefs and attitudes are largely shaped by the culture in which he or she lives.

Put another way, a culture is the primary source of an individual's views. On the other hand, “cultural relativism” is the view that different societies accept different moral standards, have different moral beliefs, and thus frequently disagree on how to act morally. Both versions of cultural relativism are descriptive claims about the state of the world. Cultural relativism as a descriptive thesis must be kept distinct from ethical relativism. Ethical relativism is a normative thesis that states that one ought to follow the cultural norms of the society in ...

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