The Limits of Pluralism


Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this interesting review of Why Do Men Barbecue?, a new book by Richard Shweder that makes a limited case for tolerating female circumcision and other "barbaric" practices.

The reviewer, Tom Morton, frames the issue well:

The further we expand the boundaries of behaviour we consider ?less than human?, the greater the risk that we will come to consider certain categories of human beings also less than human, and thus undeserving of our ?unconditional respect?, in Raimond Gaita?s trenchant and powerful phrase. However controversial some of his conclusions, Richard Shweder?s appeal for moral pluralism should provoke us to think more deeply about some of these questions.

Whole thing here.

A while back, Julian Sanchez blogged about the German cannibal case that speaks to these issues (and is mentioned in Morton's review).

If the limits of pluralism floats your boat, check out this Reason review of Stanley Fish's The Trouble with Principle.

Update: Circumcision is now spelled correctly! Missing link to story put in!