Commitment to Overriding Values.
It is true that ethics stem from human need and interest. But there is also a vital need for commitment to overriding values even if they may lack the kind of cognitive justification typically found in the sciences. Here again we must be bold. Instead of talking about critical intelligence infused by a sense of caring, let us talk about the need to inculcate a pithy feeling and principle of beneficence. Let us, as humanists, take the messianic dream out of its theological context. Let us commit to the belief that the supportive values--empathy, sympathy, benevolence, and beneficence--will produce more good than people dominated by other attitudes and emotions. This is not a utopian dream. Our goal is a modest one. It is to take people from where they are up to the next level of helping or loving others.
Marvin Kohl is visiting research scholar at the City University of New York Graduate Center and emeritus professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
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|Date:||Nov 1, 1998|
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