Great stuff but I gotta go!

Fri, 6 May 1994 11:20:16 CDT

S. Lehv writes,

>It seems to me that the idea of cultural relativism begs th e
>question of some sort of universal morality, since the two ideas appear to
>be opposites (unless I am gravely misinterpreting the idea). My question
>is, can we (as human beings, or as anthropologists) develop a moral system
>that transcends culture, or is it *always* culturally biased?
I submit that as human beings we can--and are already doing so (Check ou
t the UN Charter); but that as anthropologists we cannot--and should not
delude ourselves or others that we can. Development of moral systems,
whether by individual societies or the emerging global one, is a proces
s of cultural evolution. We participate in it as humans beings; we try
to describe and explain it as anthropologists. This, at any rate, is
my answer; thanks to S. Lehv for posing the question so clearly.
--Bob Graber