Intercultural Ethics:
A Constructivist Approach

Richard Evanoff

This article originally appeared in the Journal of Intercultural Communication 9:89-102 (2006), published by the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR)–Japan. Copyright © 2011 Richard Evanoff.


While a considerable amount of research in the field of intercultural communication has been devoted to empirical and theoretical studies on cultural differences, comparatively little work has been devoted to normative studies which consider how problems which arise because of cultural differences might be resolved (see, however, Evanoff 2004 for a bibliography of recent publications in this area). Normative research differs both from empirical research, which is basically concerned with describing existing patterns of beliefs, values, and behavior through the use of statistical data, interviews, case studies, and the like, and from theoretical studies, which attempt to make generalizations about cultural differences and how people respond to them by abstracting from such data. The methodology of ethics is neither empirical nor theoretical, but rather normative, which means that it basically concerns itself with a consideration of what beliefs, values, and forms of behavior might be plausibly adopted. Metaethics concerns itself with broader issues of how such decisions can be reasoned about, justified, and, indeed, debated across cultures.

Intercultural Ethics: A Constructivist Approach


Richard Evanoff