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Ch. 2 - Ch 2 Notes • • • • Why most ethicists and...

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Ch. 2 Notes Why most ethicists and business ethicists think cultural relativism is wrong: o We need to figure out precisely what the classical model of corporate social responsibility is according to Friedman, and how and why most mainstream business ethicists are critical of that classical model In so doing, you will see that Friedman is rejected because he is perceived by business ethicists to be offering something akin to egoism He is typically viewed as suggesting that the selfish pursuit of profit by corporations always and everywhere (at least in corporations) trumps concern for others o First, let’s revisit the argument against cultural relativism and see if the editors/authors have convinced you that it is truly untenable This is how we summarized cultural relativism: o Different cultures have radically different moral codes o There is no objective way to decide which set of codes is true o Therefore, morality is simply a matter of opinion How to engage a thesis: o Ignore their conclusion o Attack their evidence The argument against cultural relativism: o Actual disagreement among cultures is irrelevant; there can exist independent truths, ex. The earth is round, even if people differ among themselves about reality o If a cultural relativist tells me that I should tolerate and respect other cultures, that is in fact a normative claim that is non-relative (the cultural relativist is being inconsistent) o There is widespread agreement on general principles ; disagreements arise more on how to apply those principles A corollary: the assumption is that through argument, progress can be made on solving these disagreements o Cultural relativists hold ethical argumentation to an inappropriate standard of proof (a scientific/mathematical model of truth) A corollary: ethical truths should be understood as having strong rational justification rather than scientific or mathematical justification (we have good reasons, we employ all relevant facts, we use proper reasoning methods, they cohere with other well-defended values and principles, etc.) o Cultural relavists make all critique relative and render all moral differences simply matters of opinion A corollary: the assumption here is that no serious thinking person
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