Source: (2003) Faculty Research Working Papers Series, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Downloaded 2 February 2005.

In this essay, I propose to examine a rule or practice in an "alien" culture quite antithetical to the comparable U.S. rule or practice, and show that a compelling case can be made for it -- compelling, that is, to us. By compelling, I mean that, even if we cannot imagine living by it ourselves, we should be able to appreciate its moral force, understanding it as an alternative mode of human flourishing. The comparison itself could constitute (or elicit) a critique of our own practice, but that is not crucial. What matters is not whether we approve of the alien practice but whether we find it morally coherent or intelligible --itself a moral judgment but less demanding than approval. (excerpt)

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