Moral Isolationism

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Moral Isolationism

In morality and its critics, Mary Migday presents us with the abstract concept of us trying to understand different cultures and how it is difficult for a person to understand a particular culture fully. She presents the Japanese Samurai as an example through which culture can be misunderstood by people. She states that it is only in some situations whereby we can fully understand what a specific culture means along its practices. She also says that the only best understanding is understanding other people’s cultures through our own. The situation of being unable to understand other cultures fully and being faced with conditions that present to us the different cultures, as she states that our parents would have been shocked with, and the difficulty of understanding them is what she refers to ‘moral isolationism’.

She states that some people criticize other cultures for how they behave in a funny or unappealing manner, yet they have not fully understood that culture and this she frames as wrong practice. She also questions different features and concepts in dealing with cultures. For example, on page 611, she puts across the question of whether the understanding barrier towards cultures blocks a person’s ability to praise or blame a particular culture for its doings. She presents both sides of the coin by stating that we could only praise what we can thoroughly criticize. Therefore this calls for an understanding of a culture and not just trying to blame them for what does not appeal to us but also understanding why what they do is done in a specific manner. She also goes ahead to question what judgment involves, and therefore in this she states it is the formation of opinions.

However, it is wrong to form only crude notions of thoughts about other cultures. The last question Mary poses is if we cannot judge different cultures due to our ability to understand them fully, is it possible to consider our own that we are aware of? Here she discusses how moral isolationism would ban moral reasoning. However, these conditions and situations are present within the societies for our good because it is through the judgment that we get a direction to follow or avoid a culture. Finally, she admits that there is only one world, and with all the differences between different cultures and different people, we have to live within this world.

From the above discussion, it is clear that cultures and different people interact differently and at different rates. Every person has an opinion which they always want to prove, be it positive or negative. Therefore cultures have to interact appropriately because the inability to interact peacefully and adequately, as Mary suggests, leads to misunderstandings and other clashes of the culture and individual persons. This can come as a way of a person misunderstanding a specific culture like it is with the Samurai being misunderstood in its dealings and activities. Therefore, moral isolationism is a good factor towards social betterment. It discourages judgment and victimization of other cultures.

According to Mary’s analysis of moral isolationism, we come to realize that the unfair practice is not judgment as moral isolationism might try to make us see from a distant understanding. However, the basic tenet about our cultures and the world is the ability to understand each other, make sound judgments and provide relevant criticism of the different cultures. At the same time, be able to praise them and not just judge them for what they are not doing right. Therefore this is an essential aspect of any person’s knowledge of the world and the cultures. The concentration of samurai also has significance on Marys’s work as this culture is mainly misunderstood. People end up making judgments than being able to criticize effectively and analyze the culture for its strengths and weaknesses. She also talks of how anthropologists have only concentrated on small communities for their studies, thus providing and coming up with perfect studies. On the other hand, there has been a development of larger communities that bring in complexity about how society and culture operates.

Work Cited

Midgley, Mary. Trying out one’s new sword. Courses Publishing, 2000.

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