“Trying Out One’s New Sword” by Mary Midgley

“Trying Out One’s New Sword” by Mary Midgley

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“Trying Out One’s New Sword” by Mary Midgley

According to the writer, each individual normally has a hard time trying to understand culture strange to us. We perceive changes and hear constantly of alien customs. When dealing with this difficulty, it is essential to deny that we can ever comprehend any culture apart from our personal enough to make judgments about it. Those who endorse this assert that the universe is sharply into different societies, sealed units each with its system of thought. The writer calls that perspective isolationism and people only take it because they think it is a respectful attitude to other cultures. In reality, it is not respectful because no one can respect what is completely unintelligible to them.

We need to ask if the isolation barrier works and if individuals in other cultures are equally unable to criticize us. We normally believe that outsiders can deliver perfectly good indictments. Comprehending has degrees. Intelligent outsiders can progress in it and several ways will be an advantage over the locals. Midgley maintains that not only is moral isolationism incorrect but also it is reasonably incoherent (Wolff, 2017). Her instance of “trying out one’s new sword” is envisioned to demonstrate how hard it is for us to comprehend a tradition of a different culture using our personal culture’s ethical framework.

Her opinion appears to be that the moral protectionist deliberate that we can’t judge cultures except we can understand them (Alvaro, 2020). She then reasons that ethical isolationism results in a general injunction on moral reasoning which is an unpalatable conclusion. She articulates that judging someone’s particular culture needs the aptitude to judge other cultures, as a frame of reference.

Finally, she pronounces that the postulation on the sector of ethical isolationism that cultures are in out-of-the-way foams from each other is factually incorrect. Cultures intermix at most times and now more than ever. This melding reduces the tenability of moral isolationism by creating different, secluded cultures less present than ever before. But if out-of-the-way cultures do not exist, then neither can seclude ethical societies, and ethical isolationism turns out to be irrelevant.


Alvaro, C. (2020). The Incoherence of Moral Relativism. Cultural International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology, 17(1), 19-38.

Wolff, J. (2017). Readings in Moral Philosophy. WW Norton & Company.