Philosophical Aspects of Culture

By Bertram Morris | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
NON-MORAL AND MORAL VALUES

How, BASICALLY, DOES MORALITY DIFFER FROM OTHER values? Why does it appear to have priority over them? What are its sanctions and justifications? These questions, I think, no serious philosophy can quite avoid. But the range of answers lead to a whole series of controversies never capable, it seems, of finally being put to rest. My reason for reconsidering them lies in the belief that our preceding discussion of culture provides a strategic approach that makes these problems more resilient to analysis than those approaches which avoid the cultural context. This approach is one which tries to avoid abstracting morality from the concrete context of human actions. Even so, it collides, of course, with contrary preconceptions of what concreteness should be taken to mean. Although we wish to follow the advice that the closer we come to recognizing the realities of human life the more adequate is the account of what morality is, unfortunately there is no test of what the realities are. Under the circumstances, there are bound to be wide divergences of opinion, which can be only partially corrected by criticism. Regardless of the final results, the most feasible procedure appears to be to set forth as boldly as possible what we regard the realities to be and to disclose as carefully as possible the grounds that support them, in the hope that correction through critical insights and analysis may lead to increasingly solid agreement. Seeing no more promising alternative, I proceed accordingly.

Although values, it seems, are chiefly a function of social relations, there is a class of them that appears to be non-social. It is best, therefore, to treat of the latter first and then turn to the ways in which values manifest themselves in social life. The best case for non-social values has traditionally been made by those who call attention to the satisfaction of wants as constituting the very

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Philosophical Aspects of Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part One - On Culture 1
  • Chapter 1 - From Cultural Patterns To Cultural Norms 3
  • Chapter 2 - Criticism and Culture 32
  • Part Two - On Values 69
  • Chapter 3 - Non-Moral And Moral Values 71
  • Chapter 4 - On Moral Sanctions 103
  • Part Three - The Institutions of Power 133
  • Chapter 5 - Liberty, Spurious And Genuine 135
  • Chapter 6 - The Political Dimension 163
  • Chapter 7 - The Cultural Context 178
  • Part IV - The Institutions of Expression 203
  • Chapter 8 - Creativity in the Arts 205
  • Chapter 9 - The Art of Criticism 243
  • Chapter 10 - Society and the Arts Today 261
  • Notes 283
  • Index 297
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