Basic Values of Western Civilization

Basic Values of Western Civilization

Basic Values of Western Civilization

Basic Values of Western Civilization

Excerpt

Not long ago I was co-chairman with Professor Otto Klineberg of the Department of Psychology of one of Columbia University's extraordinary devices for exchanging ideas— a faculty seminar. Our group had the grandiose title of "Seminar in the Content and Methods of the Social Sciences," which allowed us to roam far and wide over the problems of our times and the latest concepts and techniques for the study of those problems. In the course of our explorations on the "frontiers of learning," we turned to the question of the basic values of a culture. I was already deeply concerned with the entire issue of the role of ideologies and ideals in shaping human behavior through time, for as a historian I had for a long time been impressed with the vital role they had played in the past of mankind. Much to my delight I found that several of my colleagues from other disciplines of the Social Sciences were interested in the same phenomena. Among them was John P. Gillin, Visiting Professor of Anthropology on leave from the University of North Carolina and now Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, who had made extensive studies of basic values in Latin America. We . . .

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