Uncovering the planetary ethic

House, Ron (2006) Uncovering the planetary ethic. International Journal of the Humanities, 4 (6). pp. 131-138. ISSN 1447-9508


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[Abstract]: There is increasing recognition of the need for a Planetary Ethic (for example, the urgent call by
Paul Kurtz). Western civil society is based, it may be argued, more on consensus of behaviours than values. Appeals for behavioural outcomes (road safety, anti-violence campaigns) seldom explicate fundamental principles. Given this, even the partial success achieved in creating 'decent' society is striking. Reasons include common assumptions between Humanists, Jews and Christians; and widespread, though unarticulated, popular acceptance of some version of utilitarianism.
Increasing numbers in western nations from non-western religious backgrounds, and globalisation in general, are forcing cultures into closer proximity. Some seem able to co-exist more or less happily, whilst others raise major issues due to different world-views. We might reasonably suspect the western consensus is close to its limit in creating a harmonious civil society, let alone a global civilisation that respects contributions of all people.
Is it possible to find underlying principles that could serve as foundation for shared consensus on ethical virtues? We examine the Principle of Goodness as a possible candidate. Such a foundational principle would need, firstly, to relate positively to most people's existing ideals and beliefs (although it might not be recognised as existing common knowledge for many); and secondly, would have to explain, confirm, correct, and enhance existing ethical understanding.
An earlier paper addressed the former requirement, showing that the Principle of Goodness is found in many major world religions and philosophies. This paper addresses the latter, taking test cases from the 'Affirmations of Humanism', and investigates its conformance with common expectations of ethical virtues, while being open to the possibility that it might add to or modify our intuitive expectations.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Paper first presented at The Fourth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, 3-6 July 2006, Tunisia. Conference website: http://h06.cgpublisher.com/ Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Authors retain copyright. Readers must contact Common Ground for permission to reproduce. COMMON GROUND PUBLISHING PO Box 463, Altona, Victoria, 3018, Australia. http://www.CommonGroundPublishing.com
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:33
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 05:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: universal ethics, planetary ethics, ethics, philosophy, social systems, Principle of Goodness, affirmations of humanism, globalisation
Fields of Research (2008): 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220305 Ethical Theory
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory
Fields of Research (2020): 50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5003 Philosophy > 500306 Ethical theory
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441005 Social theory
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/1031

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