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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 4, December 1994

Michael Goldman
Pages 285-292


The “Why question” approach serves as a pedagogical tool to facilitate student comprehension of various forms of philosophical justification for motives, behavior, and values in arguments about cultural relativism. The author's approach focuses on two examples of justification arguments to examine and explain why and how people discover what their values are and to what extent this process is culturally relative. The first example in the model is from the perspective of the present state of Western culture and the second example is derived from Inuit Eskimo culture. The philosophical significance of this approach and its application to lived examples allows students to recognize the difference between roots and causes in philosophical debates. Incorporating this approach into the classroom acquaints students with a range of legitimate forms of inquiry and equips them to situate their own philosophical inquiries within that range.

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