Correction: Is the plurality of cultures an obstacle to the unity of humankind?

Definitions of the question terms

You will benefit from consulting these three definitions of culture:

  • Culture definitions and etymology

The third definition is based on the German Kultur and the English culture:

A. All the literary, artistic, artisanal, technical and scientific achievements, customs, laws, institutions, customs, traditions, ways of thinking and living, behaviors and uses of all kinds, rites, myths and beliefs that constitute the collective heritage and personality of a country, a people or a group of peoples, a nation.
B. All the values, intellectual and artistic references common to a given group; state of civilization of a human group.

As for the human race, it can be defined as follows:

Ethnologists a fortiori, but also any observer can realize the diversity of cultures in our world.

All the fields seem to be touched by this diversity: the humor, the style of dress, the way of eating, or more generally the art, the urbanism, the religion.

In front of this diversity is a monolithic block, an indissociable link, which connects all human beings, and which makes a human being.

How can we reconcile the two? Does the diversity of cultures prevent us from being able to think of a single humankind?

Plan and development

I. The unity of the human race would be superior to the plurality of cultures

It is in this aim that the intention of Immanuel Kant, Project of Perpetual Peace, and those of Fichte and Hegel are developed.

II. In spite of a plurality of cultures which make the essence of the human being

In Race and History, Lévi-Strauss denounces the “false evolutionism”. This false evolutionism hides the danger of humanism, which would like to make of the history of the human race a whole guided by supreme values, and thus universal.

Lévi-Strauss in his works writes in particular: “The world civilization would not know how to be other than the coalition, on the world scale, of cultures preserving each one its originality.”

III. The history of the human race surpasses the different cultures which found it, and it does not belong to us to be able to judge it already

Raymond Aron in Memoirs reminds us indeed, “[History] tramples the corpses of cultures as well as those of men.

Moreover, Charles Taylor in Multiculturalism invites us to a certain humility:“we are very far from this ultimate horizon from the top of which the relative value of the various cultures could be obvious

→ Correction: does recognizing one’s duties mean giving up one’s freedom?

→ Correction: Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (1927)