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Naming Evil Judging Evil$
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Ruth W. Grant

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226306735

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226306742.001.0001

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Combining Clarity and Complexity A Layered Approach to Cross-Cultural Ethics

Combining Clarity and Complexity A Layered Approach to Cross-Cultural Ethics

(p.139) Chapter 7 Combining Clarity and Complexity A Layered Approach to Cross-Cultural Ethics
Naming Evil Judging Evil

Elizabeth Kiss

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the issue of judgment in the face of cross-cultural complexity by examining two controversial cases—female genital mutilation and suicide bombings. It constructs a model of good judgment that combines a commitment to core substantive norms with a capacity to make layered judgments that distinguish between moral assessments of (a) an action or practice; (b) the social contexts that shape, sustain, and give meaning to the practice; (c) the motivations and interests of those who engage in or defend it; (d) our own moral standing in relation to it; and (e) appropriate and effective responses to it. It is argued that a layered model of moral judgment avoids two extreme responses to situations where judgments must be made cross-culturally: clarity purchased at the price of cultural sensitivity and complexity that undermines the capacity to judge altogether.

Keywords:   judgment, cross-cultural complexity, female genital mutilation, suicide bombings, moral judgment, cultural sensitivity

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