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Mary Midgley: Trying Out one's new sword

Page history last edited by Jerome E. Jose 13 years, 11 months ago

Jerome E. Jose                                                                                     Feb.06,2009 

BS-IS                                                                                                   Sir.Paul Pajo


Contemporary Moral Problems  

            Library Reference: none

            Amazon Link:http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1233910528&sr=1-1


Quote: "Ideals like discipline and devotion will not move anybody unless he himself accepts them."


                What I expect to learn:  The true message of Mary Midgley’s trying out new sword



                        Well, as I start reading this chapter about Mary Midgley, I have no idea what about the true meaning of “trying out new sword”. For me, it is something that doesn’t concern me. But as I continue reading on, little by little, I’m starting to understand what she’s trying to say and I agree with her. She’s saying that we don’t have the right to judge other religion for we don’t have enough knowledge about it.


                                In addition to this, she stated five points regarding her ideas and I agree with her. The strengths in Midgley’s arguments are numerous. Her arguments do not contain any fallacies. She also defined exactly what she was arguing against. She didn’t leave “moral isolationism” as an ambiguous phrase. Her first point is that moral isolationism leads to the conclusion that we cannot praise other cultures for holding certain values.


                  What I've learned:  


I have now deeply understood the true meaning of trying out new sword of Mary Midgley


                Integrative Questions: 

  1. To know what is Moral Isolationism?
  2. What is tsujigiri?
  3. To know what does it mean "trying out One's New Sword"
  4. What is/are the basis of criticizing other cultures?
  5. How can it be applied to our morality?



  • What is “moral isolationism”?

  Based on what I have read, according to Mary Midgley, moral isolationism “Consists in simply denying that we can never understand any culture except our own well enough to make judgements about it”. 


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

               Tsujigiri is a verb in classical Japanese which means to try out one new sword on a chance to a new opponent. It is like trying your new learned skill/weapon to some opponent. Despite being considered immoral by many observers with different cultural backgrounds, was at least at one time considered acceptable by those within the culture in which it obtained.


Reference:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsujigiri


  • What is wrong with moral isolationism, according to Midgley?

                Mary Midgley argues that we can understand cultures well enough to make moral judgments concerning their practices. She argues that if moral isolationism were true, it would block us from praising other societies. It would also result in all of our moral reasoning being void.


Reference: http://www.geocities.com/fonzarelli4563/cr--midgley.htm


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

                    It simply means that if we don't have sufficient understanding about others' cultures, we simply cannot praise nor criticize it.







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