Ideologies, Goals, and Values

By Feliks Gross | Go to book overview

16
In Search of Universal Values

The Question of Universal Norms: The Megaethos

In previous chapters, we have at times identified--or only postulated--the existence of a controlling normative system, a superior set of values that exercises some control over related subsystems. It has been argued, however, that in terms of validation such controlling supersystems appear in particular cultures or societies.

Now a question has to be asked: Do we have, or can we identify, elements of a megaethos, of a worldwide universal ethos, a system that is sensed, expressed, if not recognized by all, sensed by an entire mankind? There are of course codified systems of supreme norms, and the United Nations Charter and Declaration of Human Rights is a more recent expression of such sentiments, evidence of a tendency.

The search for a supreme ethical system, shared by all mankind, was of course a central theme of philosophy and theology for centuries. In this search contradictory ideas appeared. The ancient Greeks, beginning with Pythagoras, saw a harmony, a perfect structure in those highest principles directing the destiny and conduct of mankind. Others, however, discovered dialectics.

A vision of an almost scientific ethical system, a system of perfect proportions, was designed by Spinoza. On the other extreme, philosophers perceived early mankind as marked by the absence of any ethical code, as a complete ethical chaos--bellum omnium contra omnes, guided by egoistic interest, greed, and the will to dominate, but harnessed eventually by institutions and a legal order of a society that developed the state in the interest of survival and as protection against those destructive forces inherent in man.

Hence, in their longing for a better, even perfect humanity as well as for legitimacy of a better society, philosophers tried to discover natural laws common to all persons, all societies, inherent in the very nature of things, rights inborn

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Ideologies, Goals, and Values
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Sociology Series Editor: Don Martindale ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xxi
  • Acknowledgments xxxiii
  • Part I Ideologies 1
  • 1: The Directive and Regulatory System 3
  • 2: Ideologies--The World Outlook and Values 26
  • 3: The Structure of Ideologies 44
  • 4: The Appeal and Function of Values 58
  • 5: Definition of Values 71
  • Part II Goals 75
  • 6: Types of Goals 77
  • 7: Formation of Goals 91
  • 8: Horizontal Sequence of Goals 103
  • 9: Strategies 119
  • 10: Social Planning and Ethics 128
  • 11: The Logic of Planning 145
  • 12: Distant Goals 156
  • 13: Social Rhythm and Cyclical Goals 183
  • Part III Values 209
  • 14: Hierarchies of Values 211
  • 15: Multiple Sets of Values 237
  • 16: In Search of Universal Values 273
  • 17: Toleration and Pluralism 300
  • Bibliography 321
  • Index 337
  • About the Author 345
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