William Graham Sumner – A Defense of Cultural Relativism

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No sources needed. No MLA style needed. Opinion based, extremely short responses is all that is needed.

  1. Sumner says, “For the people of a time and place, their own mores are always good, or rather … for them there can be no question of the goodness or badness of their mores.” Explain his position. Has Sumner overlooked the possibility that a people could wonder whether their own mores are correct? Or does Sumner deny this is possible?
  2. Sumner says that we often pass judgment on mores of the past or on mores of other people in the present. For example, we now think that infanticide and slavery were wrong. Why does Sumner believe that such moralizing is inappropriate?
  3. Sumner believes that mores change when scientific discoveries or technological inventions change the conditions of life. Why is it that only practical inventions change mores, and not moral insight?
  4. What is the Zeitgeist? How is the concept relevant to Sumner’s theory?

Post your thoughts and comments to all the above questions after reading and considering the article by William Graham Sumner.


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