The concept of cultural relativism relies upon the idea that the values, beliefs, and practices of one person should be understood based on that person’s own culture, rather than they should be judged against the criteria of a culture different from theirs.

Cultural relativists believe that there is no perfect system, there is no bad system/culture and that no cultural system is greater in value than other systems. According to this, the concept of good or bad is just a product of the human society where the comparison is a concrete part of the everyday life.

Today’s anthropologists considers all cultures to be neutral from every aspect of belief or principles, even the ones that seem to conflict with these moral/ethical systems.


For example, the Mayan civilization practices the so-called “weird” acts of self-mutilation and human sacrifice. We can also take the example of the Vikings, an ancient tribe in the north in Scandinavia who used to have boat funerals for the dead.

They used to wrap the body around with fabricated cloth with an ancient script imprinted on it. The boat was set on fire once it floated some distance away from shore. However, cultural relativism speaks of these practices as neither best, good, nor bad or worst.

The Mayans and the Vikings were simply distinctive in these practices that were in fact, considered as part of the social network that existed at those times.


Cultural relativism has put the value of judgment to a very narrow pipe since any society that accepts the concept loses its ability to actually differentiate between the good or bad aspects of life. Similarly, some acts praise extreme moral judgment such as rape and other crimes.

Therefore, no matter how many people embrace this concept, they cannot overcome the logical perspective of how this universe actually works and hence cannot still consider everything as acceptable as that would be a very senseless thing to do.