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What is the relationship between Ethics and Culture?

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While both ethics and culture have been studied in conjunction (Izraeli, 1988), their relationship has been elusive. Both ethics and culture deal with the values of right and wrong, good and bad. An ethical analysis discerns what is right by applying logic to relate the situation under question to one or more principles. In contrast, a cultural analysis discerns what is right by appealing to the underlying values, as manifest through the culture's heroes and symbols. Classic ethicists believe that what is right and wrong is static, that is, it does not change, throughout time or place. For example, if slavery is wrong, it was always wrong and it is wrong everywhere. This is because the principle on which this determination is made does not depend on time or place. (However, ethicists do believe that our collective human capacity to understand right and wrong develops over time and study.) In contrast, a culture's determination of its values, including right and wrong, is dynamic. For ... more
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