Cultural Relativism and Human Rights Cover Image

Cultural Relativism and Human Rights
Cultural Relativism and Human Rights

Author(s): Miloš Bogičević
Subject(s): Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Civil Society, Culture and social structure , Sociology of Culture, Sociology of Law
Published by: Udruženje “Pravnik”
Keywords: Cultural relativism; human rights;

Summary/Abstract: The question that I seek to answer is whether cultural relativism about human rights (hereinafter “cultural relativism”) is a view that can give a good account of human rights. I will take cultural relativism to the view that human rights are not universal and that we should act in accordance with the standards set by our own cultures. I will take human rights to be a type of moral claim that an agent holds, a claim that has a corresponding duty that is owed to him/her. Human rights are individual-centered concerns and agents hold these rights in relation to, and sometimes against, the society or state (Donnelly, 1984, p.411). I shall argue that cultural relativism cannot give a good account of human rights understood in this way. This is because when individual human rights are in conflict with the values of a given culture - cultural relativism instructs us to give up individual human rights. In addition, I will argue that cultural relativism suffers from logical inconsistencies because cultural relativists need to resort to non-relative, value based arguments to defend their position.

  • Issue Year: 3/2012
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 151-156
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: English