Can there be shared community values?

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Can there be shared community values?

Postby thinkdr » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:03 am

It came to my attention that the wife of the former CEO and founder of the J. M. Smucker Company is active in the civic life of Orrville, Ohio, USA. Among her many other philanthropic activities, she coordinated the initiation of the Heartland Educational Community, Inc. It was set up by the aforementioned corporation, along with regional universities, foundations, and with the help of The Institute for Global Ethics. The Heartland has the stated goal of "shifting the focus from school to education, and shifting the responsibility from school to community."

I learned that in recent years she has conducted 24 Community Ethics seminars. It is a Character Education program which emphasizes shared community values. {So far this sounds more like Applied Ethics than like an Ethical Theory discussion. Let us though examine what her organization means by "Shared Community Values."}

The values which emerged (as those upon which there is a global-wide consensus that this is what "ethics" is about) are these:

Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-control, Commitment, Fairness, Moral Courage, and Cooperation.

If Ethics means anything it is a concern with these values.

[Incidentally, centering in on values avoids all the unnecessary difficulties that arise when "action" is made the central focus. For that results in grappling with such pseudo-issues as "Is a lie wrong because of the results that may ensue, or because it is a lie - and lies are always forbidden?" To phrase it another way: "Is a lie permissible when it leads to some good outcome (as a Consequentialist would argue), or is it forbidden just because the act is a lie?" (and Deontology explains why a lie is always wrong since it can't be universalized without ending all civilization.)

Philosophers have been known to dispute these matters, while slipping easily among usage of the terms "consequence," "act," "action," and "activity," without defining any of these words, or bothering to differentiate them.]

:idea: :arrow: It is logical, for theoretic convenience, to divide Ethics into two branches: Individual Ethics and Social Ethics. Then the question arises, How classify the shared community values? In what branch do each of them belong?

It seems to me that it is sensible to regard Honesty, Compassion, Fairness and Cooperation as concerns where others are involved, and thus I would put them in the Social Ethics department of Ethical Theory.

Furthermore, Commitment and Self-control are best classified as belonging to Individual Ethics as topics for analysis and explication.

There are however values that overlap both fields. Here I would say belong: Respect, Responsibility, and Moral Courage {and maybe even Honesty, since we can lie to ourselves.} An individual can have Self-Respect and can respect others. There is Responsibility assumed by the person as part of a commitment to be a moral individual of good character who wants to live ethically; and there definitely is also Social Responsibility (which includes a quest for social justice, and an extension of human rights (to gays, women, those of dark complexion, those of 'foreign' national origin, or who hold 'strange' religious ideas, etc.)

Moral Courage, when it takes the form of an individual being a whistle-blower who unearths and reveals corruption in an institution, in government, or in a corporation or business falls into the intersection of Individual and Social Ethics. It is inter-departmental - interdisciplinary, so to speak.
For most of these values I devote a chapter of its own -showing how they fit into the big picture, and clarifying them - in my essay, Living Successfully, a link to which is here: ... SFULLY.pdf

Your reviews of this approach to Ethical Theory is welcomed.
Did you learn anything of value by perusing the manuscript?
Can you suggest any improvements when the contents of this paper is combined with the material in the earlier effort, BASIC ETHICS: A systematic approach

I wrote the latter booklet three years ago; and the former this year (2017.) The latter offers a more-logical presentation, as it proceeds from Meta-philosophy to philosophy; and from Moral Philosophy to Ethics as a science; from pure Theory to Applied Ethics - that is, to policy questions and to practical implications of the axioms and theorems.

Many critics say a Science of Ethics is impossible, but they fail to define their terms nor do they attempt to understand where the scientific Ethicists are coming from: how they employ their terminology, what motivates them.

Your views?
:idea:For further reading and insight into the topics of Ethics check out these links, and thereby add to your reading enjoyment

LIVING WELL: how ethics helps us flourish
[NEW] :!: ... ourish.pdf


BASIC ETHICS: a systematic approach (2014)


and ASPECTS OF ETHICS ... ics%20.pdf

When you Google this selection you may wish tostart with page 20 to skip the technicalities. Marvin C. Katz - ETHICS: A College Course
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