The Moral Landscape

The argument concerning the right to maintain one’s cultural identity are becoming more prevalent in our multicultural society and a cultural defense is being used more often in American courts.  Absolutism can be said to be an ethical view whereby certain courses of actions are considered to be absolutely wrong or right, without taking into account the reason as well as the impact behind them. This argument to absolutism it means that there one has to maintain his cultural identity no matter what the situation is because it is ethically accepted that one should have a cultural identity. Therefore even if changing one cultural identity amounts to one gaining some benefits, the absolutism argues that one has to maintain his cultural identity no matter the prevailing situation.  

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Relativism on the other hand is the ethical view whereby moral standards, morality as well as positions of what is right and wrong are based on one’s culture and in this case an individual has the freedom to make a choice (Baghramian,2004). On the other hand, this argument to a relativism means that one can change his/her culture at will as long as he/she is gaining something from the borrowed culture that he/she intends to adopt (Blais,1997).

In case1 involving the Japanese immigrant the judge makes his judgment using the relativism argument. He takes into account what the culture of the people in question view the case and draws his judgment from the cultural views. In case two the court bases it judgment on the absolutism argument (Barzilai,2003). The cultural defense in this case is not acceptable as the judge uses what is ethically right to make the conclusion in the case at hand. In the case of the Amish parents, the court uses the relativism argument to make it decision.

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