Universal Moral Standards and the Problem of Cultural Relativism in Hume's ‘A Dialogue’

Philosophy 88 (4):593-606 (2013)
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An interpretation and critical re-construction is offered of David Hume's argument on cultural relativism in the essay ‘A Dialogue’. For any issue of moral disagreement, Hume contends, either one side can be shown right and the other wrong, or imprecision in moral principles leaves room for more than one reasonable view, or the disagreement concerns a morally indifferent aesthetic matter, or it is caused by ‘artificial’ moral sentiments. In each case, relativism is the wrong view. Following an analysis of each disagreement type, and the crucial notion of ‘artificial’ views, it is concluded that Hume's anti-relativist argument is sound.



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A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume & Tom L. Beauchamp - 1998 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 190 (2):230-231.
Truth and Method.Hans-Georg Gadamer, Garrett Barden, John Cumming & David E. Linge - 1977 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (1):67-72.
Ethics.William Frankena - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (1):74-74.

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