Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Moral Imperialism

  • Ryan Jenkins
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_754

Broadly, moral imperialism is the imposition of a set of moral values onto a culture that does not share those values, either through force or through cultural criticism. The charge of moral imperialism is leveled against theorists and commentators who feel entitled to force a system of morality onto another culture or to criticize moral codes different from their own.

There are a number of reasons that the charge of moral imperialism should concern scholars of global justice. First, we might worry that by criticizing other cultures, we are apt to unwittingly caricature their views. Second, we might also insult their culture by treating it as static and homologous, which would fail to appreciate the organic complexity and richness of other moral systems, even those with which we disagree stridently. Third, any criticism, if we are not careful, can slip from well-intentioned to demeaning and damaging. If that were to happen, it might appear that cultural critics were purposefully...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan Jenkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA