I’m well aware of the relativism debate in philosophy of science and philosophy but as I stated before, I have not had the time to look into the full cultural relativism issue in regard to the legal arena. I’ve come across some interesting articles I hope to read on my quest to define what I think about how it applies to law and society. Standing in opposition to Mr. Corbett, I must admit that I’ve been a proponent of relativism in philosophy, religion, mathematics, and science. The question, I think, is a fundamental one that goes to the heart of our existence. We may be venturing into that fuzzy area of metaphysics again and I must admit that I have quite the aversion to the field.

Here’s my personal syllabus:

In 1998, Posner set out his moral positions and its relation to the law in “The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory.” 111 HARV. L. REV. 1637 (1998). From the table of contents and a quick read it seems he sets out a qualified cultural relativism position. If there is any place to start, I’d be inclined to start with Posner.

Michael Goodhart, from the esteemed University of Pittsburgh, has an article “Origins and Universality in the Human Rights Debates: Cultural Essentialism and the Challenge of Globalization.” 25 Hum. Rts. Q. 935 (2003).

Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an entry on moral relativism.

I am also aware that Paul O’Grady, a Trinity College Dublin philosophy professor, has put some significant work into the area and hope to read some of his work soon: Paul O’Grady, Wittgenstein and Relativism, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 12, (3), 2004, p315 – 337 Paul O’Grady, Relativism, Chesham, Acumen, 2002.

– Timothy DeHaut