Ethnocentrism is defined as an attitude where in a person has the tendency to look at the world differently from his own world and primarily his own is the center of everything. This belief somehow put others as inferior in the eyes of the ethnocentric. It can also apply to a group, society or even a country where in their view of their culture and race is superior to other races or societies. In the discussion that was provided, Socrates’s etchnocentic ideas has somewhat put his life in danger and eventually death. He based his wisdom from his knowledge and he believed that the society of the Athenians from which he belongs really lack in such credentials. His attack to his society as against his principles has led him into his death.
Socrates was said to have laid the foundation of Western philosophy. Today, many hard-lined Westerners are viewed as ethnocentric in a way that they believe America is the most previleged country in the world. They see American society have the most liberalized, cultured, civilized and educated society as they view others belonging to the developing or the third world. Such attitude entails the impression that emanates from their character as racist and predominantly prejudice to others. In some way or another it was observed that ethnocentric people prefer the company of people who are in the same status such as them and are more comfortable sharing their values and belief to them while they almost behaved in similar ways. It is in this degree that they decline new meanings and thoughts of others since they consider these as less acceptable and desirable.
Sophism does have two different meanings. In our world today, sophism is an illogical argument as it is used by an author or a speaker to deceive or confuse someone into believing him. But in ancient Greece, the sophists are given the value of a wise man sometimes denoting as a teacher or a philosopher. Socrates was once a Sophos meaning he was only a believer and a man of wisdom. He gave this wisdom to his students the likes of Plato. But when he sees the weakness and disease in his society, he made himself heard which made him a sophist arguing with his government of personal reform through divinity.
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Relativism connotes different theories. The first suggest that other elements of experience or culture is dependent or in relation to other element or aspects. There are many kinds of relativism but they all have two common features. First is that they assert one thing like moral values, beauty, knowledge or meaning which is relative to particular framework. Second is that they deny that any standpoint is uniquely advantageous over all others. There are two kinds of relativisms in general perspective. These are Cognitive Relativism which has a broader meaning and states that every statement has its truth which is relative to some set of background conditions and assumptions. Meaning, it asserts the relativity of truth. Then, Moral Relativism which defines that what is right to one person is not morally right to another. This greatly applies to cultural relativism where cultures have great difference in their values.
Protagoras who is considered a sophist is a lawyer and rhetorician. His teachings states that wise man learn to be brilliantly adoptable to ideas. In view of disagreement the philosophical man knew that there is no definite solution and no definite answer to a problem. The objective of resolving disagreements is not to seek the truth because there is no such thing as truth. The solution lies in “curing” disagreements by making people agree at endpoint. Protagoras as a diplomat taught that a wise man can be able to persuade others to accept his views thus avoiding disagreements and turn the table in his favor.
Socrates life is viewed as ethnocentric because in his belief that he has more wisdom and knowledge in human dignity than his society. He was a man of reason and follows the divine principle of God. He is a devoted educator of many other philosophers and was hoping to lead Athens out of ignorance. He had only the chance to prove his worth as a teacher and a great philosopher to those of his students. In his time, probing and speaking out the sickness of the society is heresy (Pine, 1985).
- Pine, R. C. (1985). Science and the Human Prospect [Electronic Version] from http://home.honolulu.hawaii.edu/~pine/book1qts/chapter4qts.html
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