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Mary Midgley: Trying Out One's New Sword

Page history last edited by cAmz 13 years, 11 months ago

 

TITLE: Contemporary Moral Problems: Trying Out One’s New Sword (Chapter 4)

AMAZON LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-White/dp/0534584306

QUOTATION: "The power of judgment is not a luxury, not perverse indulgence of the self righteous."

LEARNING EXPECTATIONS:

-          I want to know the relationship of the sword in this section.

-          I want to understand the concept of moral isolationism.

-          I want to further deepen knowledge on what are the things that I need to know in different aspect of moral issues.

REACTION:

Moral isolationism is the view of anthropologists and others that we cannot criticize cultures that we do not understand.  It is essentially a doctrine of immoralism because it forbids any moral reasoning. It falsely assumes that cultures are separate and unmixed, whereas most cultures are in fact formed out of many influences.

Tsujigiri is a word which literally means crossroads-cut. In the Japanese customs tsujigiri is a samurai sword had to be tried because if it was to work properly, it had to slice through someone at a single blow, from the shoulder to the opposite flank. Other wise the warrior bungled his stroke. This could endure his honor offend his ancestors and even let down his emperor.

Midgler ask the question “Does the isolating barrier work both ways? Are people in other cultures equally unable to criticize us?” about the tsujigiri.

Moral isolationism forbids us to form any opinions on these matters. Its ground for doing so is that we don’t understand them.

   Ideals like discipline and devotion will not move anybody unless he himself accepts them. If I have seen a person on the way she/he acts and moves then I can simply criticize what is his/her culture because I think the things you do describes where you came from.

Moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning. Immoralists like Nietzsche are actually just a rather specialized sect of moralists. They can no more afford to put moralizing out of business than smugglers can to abolish customs regulations. The power of moral judgment is not a luxury, not a perverse indulgence of the self-righteous. It is a necessity.

 

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED:

-          I learned the doctrine of immoralism connected with moral isolationism.

-          I become familiarize with the Japanese culture of tsujigiri.

-          I distinguish the different points in moral isolationism.

 

 

INTEGRATIVE QUESTIONS:

  1. What is Moral Isolationism?
  2. What is Japanese custom of tsujigiri?
  3. What is judgment?
  4. What is the question asked by Midgler?
  5. Why does Midgley says that Nietzsche is an immoralist?

 

REVIEW QUESTIONS:

 

  1. What is “moral isolationism”?

 

Moral isolationism is the view of anthropologists and others that we cannot criticize cultures that we do not understand.  It is essentially a doctrine of immoralism because it forbids any moral reasoning. It falsely assumes that cultures are separate and unmixed, whereas most cultures are in fact formed out of many influences.

 

  1. Explain the Japanese custom of tsujigiri. What question does Midgley ask about this custom?

 

Tsujigiri is a word which literally means crossroads-cut. In the Japanese customs tsujigiri is a samurai sword had to be tried because if it was to work properly, it had to slice through someone at a single blow, from the shoulder to the opposite flank. Other wise the warrior bungled his stroke. This could endure his honour offend his ancestors and even let down his emperor.

Midgler ask the question “Does the isolating barrier work both ways? Are people in other cultures equally unable to criticize us?” about the tsujigiri.

 

  1. What is wrong with moral isolationism according to Midgley?

 

Moral isolationism forbids us to form any opinions on these matters. Its ground for doing so is that we don’t understand them.

 

  1. What does Midgley think is basis for criticizing other cultures?

 

   Ideals like discipline and devotion will not move anybody unless he himself accepts them. If I have seen a person on the way she/he acts and moves then I can simply criticize what is his/her culture because I think the things you do describes where you came from.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Midgley says that Nietzsche is an immoralist. Is that an accurate and fair assessment of Nietzsche? Why or why not?

Moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning. Immoralists like Nietzsche are actually just a rather specialized sect of moralists. They can no more afford to put moralizing out of business than smugglers can to abolish customs regulations. The power of moral judgment is not a luxury, not a perverse indulgence of the self-righteous. It is a necessity.

  1. Do you agree with Midgley’s claim that the idea of separate and unmixed cultures is unreal? Explain your answer.

I disagree with what Midgley’s claim with the idea of separate and unmixed culture is unreal.  In our country, there are people who are considered mixed and unmixed which are really an essential way to represent their selves, where they belong.

 

 

 

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