Hinman on Relativism

For a superb powerpoint on cultural relativism and the issue of universal values. He argues for a reflective equilibrium where we recognise the partiality of our own view, whilst also conceding that a modified form of universalism makes sense (a universalism of principles, not rules).

Posted with the permission of  Professor Lawrence Hinman, San Diego University.
In this debate we need to disentangle:

1. The idea of universal values from the idea of particular (culturally specific) values.
2. The idea of objective (out there, measurable) values from subjective (in myself, up to me).
3. The idea of goodness linked to consequences from the idea of goodness independent of the situation.
4. The idea of an absolute principle (general, needing to be applied) from an absolute rule (specific, allowing no exceptions). As the powerpoint makes clear, we can agree to universal, shared principles common to all human beings without requiring that we all sign up to the same rulebook.







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