Bulisik

Mary Midgley: Trying Out One’s New Sword

Posted on: March 12, 2009

Chapter: 4- Mary Midgley: Trying Out One’s New Sword

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Author: James E. White

Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James

White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234122156&sr=1-1

Quote: “Most cultures are formed out of many influences.”

What I expect to learn:

The learning expectation for this chapter review would be what is moral isolationism? Do separated and unmixed cultures is unreal?

Chapter Review:

For me, this chapter is all about studying cultures, what is moral isolationism. Well, Moral Isolationism is the view of anthropologists and other that we cannot criticize cultures that we do not understand. According to Midgley, moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning. Essentially, this is the programme of immoralism and it carries a distressing logical difficulty.

This chapter also talks about what could be the basis in criticizing other cultures. Midgley thinks that the culture of our own is the basis of criticizing other cultures. This means that why do we judge other cultures if we could judge our own culture.

What I’ve learned:

What have I learned is that cultures are truly mixed and the thought that cultures are separated and unmixed is truly unreal.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is moral isolationism?

2. What Tsujigiri means?

3. What is crossroads-cut?

4. What is the basis in criticizing other cultures?

5. Are cultures separated and unmixed?

Review Questions:

1. What is “moral isolationism”?

Moral Isolationism is the view of anthropologists and other that we cannot criticize cultures that we do not understand.

2. Explain the Japanese customer of tsujigiri. What questions does Midgley ask about this custom?

Tsujigiri literally means as crossroads-cut. Tsujigiri is a verb on classical Japanese which means “to try out ones new sword on a chance wayfarer”. A Samurai sword had to be tried out because, if it was to work properly, it had to slice through someone at a single blow, from the shoulder to the opposite flank. Otherwise, the warrior bungled his stroke. This could injure his honour, offend his ancestors, and even let down his emperor. So tests were needed, and wayfarers had to be expended. Any wayfarers would do – provided, of course, that he was not another Samurai. Scientist recognizes a familiar problem about the rights of experimental subjects.

3. What is wrong with moral isolationism, according to Midgley?

According to Midgley, moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning. Essentially, this is the programme of immoralism and it carries a distressing logical difficulty.

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

Midgley thinks that the culture of our own is the basis of criticizing other cultures. This means that why do we judge other cultures if we could judge our own culture.

Discussion Questions:

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

I don’t know because Nietzsche also describes something that is not immoral. He just describes what he thinks about a good and healthy society.

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

I agree because it is really obvious in our life today. Many cultures are mixed. Many people travel from their country to other countries. In that way, it describes that there is already a mixed culture.

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