THIS VOLUME was first conceived to mark the inauguration of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Founded in 1990, the University Center supports teaching, research, and public discussions of fundamental questions concerning moral values that span traditional academic disciplines. Central among those questions is what kind of communities can justly be created and sustained out of our human diversity. Unprecedented powers of creation and destruction are at the disposal of increasingly interdependent societies, with remarkably diverse cultures, governments, and religions. Colleges and universities like Princeton have themselves become increasingly pluralistic communities. Accompanying this pluralism is a widespread skepticism about the defensibility of any moral principles or perspectives. Many moral problems are upon us, and many people question our ability to deal with them in a reasonable way.
The ethical issues of our time pose a challenge to any university committed to an educational mission that encompasses more than the development and dissemination of empirical knowledge and technical skills. Can people who differ in their moral perspectives nonetheless reason together in ways that are productive of greater ethical understanding? The University Center faces up to this challenge by supporting a university education that is centrally concerned with examining ethical values, the various standards according to which individuals and groups make significant choices and evaluate their own as well as other ways of life. Through the teaching, research, and public discussions that it sponsors, the University Center encourages the systematic study of ethical values and the mutual influences of education, phi-