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Understanding Other Cultures

The article called “Understanding other cultures” helps readers to improve their comprehension of different culture environments in the world. The text itself could be divided in two parts. The first part explains the main difficulties scholars face when trying to define the term “culture”. In the second section the attention is drawn to the concept of ‘view-from-nowhere’ man and its possible application when dealing with different cultures. The information provided in the text is supported by facts, figures and statistics and is of interest to the general public.
To begin with, in the first part the author tries to define culture. According to him, it can be described as “a way of life of a people, including their attitudes, beliefs, values, arts, science, modes of perception and habits of thought and activity”. One might think that having this definition in mind, it is possible to individuate cultures and distinguish one from another. However, it does not work this way as the concepts mentioned in the definition have to be understood universally so that they could perform their functions cross-culturally. Therefore, it is essential to understand what part of consciousness does not hold cultural information in order to understand how this process works. Thus the definition of culture not only does not help to understand what culture is, but also raises philosophical problems.
In this respect it is decisive to define the core of human consciousness which is devoid of any cultural information. Therefore, the author brings up Thomas Nagel’s theory of “view-from-nowhere” man suggesting that people should distance themselves from all cultures and try taking a new look at the world. Although one has to deprive themselves from their culture, it may produce impressive results, in the long term as this method gives a unique opportunity to get the objective truth about all cultures in the world. To sum up, this method may have its drawbacks, but the chance to know the world around is certainly worthwhile.
To conclude, the author of the article explains how one can improve his comprehension of culture surrounding him. According to him, embracing the “view-from-nowhere-man” attitude can help enormously in this matter as it gives an opportunity to get rid of all the biases people might have and start perceiving the world objectively.




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