William Graham Sumner
"Folkways and Moral Relativism"
- The Origin of Morality - The Folkways (Anthropology):
- The Human Organism -
- Two survival mechanisms -
- Instinct - automatic avoidance of threats (i.e., pain)
- Intelligence - manipulation and adaptation to environment (albeit unconscious)
- The Rise of Folkways: Ancestor veneration (i.e., tradition)
- The Mythical Tradition
- The Anthropological Tradition
- The Logic of Folkways: Post hoc, ergo, propter hoc. -
- The Foundations of Social Interaction -
- Survival of the Community
- "Knowledge" of the World
- Approximations to the truth
- Sufficient time for the development of traditions
- Abstractions or Generalizations from the traditions to the world
- 'Mores' - Folkways plus philosophical abstractions
- The Consequences of the Origin of Morality:
- Ethnocentrism - The uncritical belief in the inherent superiority of one's own culture.
- Religious - Christianity verses Paganism
- Political - Democracy verses Communism
- Economic - Capitalism verses Socialism
- Relativism - Since morality develops out of folkways which are relative to the environment/culture in which they arise, morality is relative to culture.
- Sociological Egoism - As groups we use morality to justify those goals which are in our interest regardless of the interest of others.
PHI 105 Page | Notes Index