[Fis] Cultural Relativsm

Dai Griffiths dai.griffiths.1 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 24 02:28:11 CET 2020

Dear all,

I am sympathetic to this, though I fear that there are endless grey 
areas. There is much more consensus about clitorectomies than there is 
about male circumcision, for example.

My pebble in the pond is that a statement about oneself is different 
from a statement about another person, and this can generate asymmetry 
of information / misinformation. This happens in 'mansplaining', in 
discussions about race, and in conversations about minority groups, such 
as the Catalans that Loet referred to. Catalans saying "I feel like 
this, and would like to do that" cannot be generating misinformation 
(assuming self knowledge and honesty). When Madrid points the finger and 
says "High treason", the status of the statement as 
information/misinformation is up for political discussion.

As a Catalan speaker, I would say that the finger pointers in Madrid are 
unacceptable, and the Catalans are justified.

But on other occasions I am a finger pointer. I would argue that the 
statement "I want to have a clitorectomy" (which some women sadly do 
say) is a coerced response to oppression and violence, and finger 
pointers like me who want to ban clitorectomies are justified. But I 
can't claim that that the woman's statement is misinformation.

Acceptability and misinformation do not necessarily go hand in hand. 
This is not an argument for moral relativism. It is (as I see it) an 
argument that the concept of misinformation is not a reliable guide to 
acceptability or moral action.


On 21/01/2020 12:14, Joseph Brenner wrote:
> Dear Some,
> This note is to denounce a principle of cultural relativism that has 
> crept into the Lecture discussion. The concept that opposing points of 
> view are always equally valid is a form of crypto-fascism that for me 
> is totally unacceptable. It is Trump’s “there are good guys on the 
> other side”, which included the murderers of a demonstrator. Does 
> anyone on the list want to suggest that clitorectomies are acceptable 
> because “it’s part of the culture”? I do not intend to include 
> responses to such notes in my final summary. If this position is not 
> to the liking of some members, they can erase my future messages, as I 
> have theirs.
> Joseph
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Professor David (Dai) Griffiths
Professor of Education
School of Education and Psychology
The University of Bolton
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