Common Values

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Overview

In Common Values, now with a new preface, Bok writes eloquently and clearly while combining moral theory with practical ethics, demonstrating how moral values apply to all facets of life—personal, professional, domestic, and international. Drawing on a great deal of historical material, Bok also includes in her examination consideration of the 1993 United Nations World Conference on Human Rights; the World Parliament of Religions; the publication of Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II's proclamation on morality; and the International Commission of Global Governance. Bok's defense of shared morality addresses a crucial topic for our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In arguing that a minimalist set of values can exist across cultures, Bok examines past and present attempts to identify such values and presents a substantial and clear account of the four most common objections to them advanced since antiquity. Understanding these four objections and how one might respond to them is crucial for successful contemporary discussion and agreement on the matter of common values. . . . This book is suitable for a wide range of readers, as the topic is of global importance."—Choice

"Ethicist Sissela Bok seeks to persuade us that our late-century global tragedies are indeed different from the accumulated woes of our predecessors in this way: they are global; they cross boundaries; in a very real sense, they endanger life itself. . . . She urges us to come down from our trees--those vantage points of realism, pacifism, or utopianism from which we view events--and join in the effort to construct dialogue from the building blocks of our shared humanity, shaped as they are from what she claims to be the universally-held conviction that survival is based on three irreducible values: 1) all people, in all societies, espouse the need to be mutually supportive and loyal to their fellow members of the group; 2) all people, in all societies, decry violence, betrayal, and deceit practiced on members of the group; 3) all people, in all societies, demand a form of justice that distinguishes between right' and wrong' and that is fair' in its application of the group's rules to all its members. Bok wants us to see that this spare and yet stringent value set, when extended to apply beyond prevailing ethnic, religious, or national boundaries, offers the only hope of a negotiated ceasefire on the battlefields of war, disease, and environmental degradation."—Harvard Review

"This work stands as a common sense proposal to find common ground in a world too close to stay separated."—Word Trade

Booknews
In chapters based on lectures given and essays published between 1988 and 1994, Bok (Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies) explores the question of what moral values, if any, might be shared across national, ethnic, religious, and other boundaries, under what circumstances, and with what qualifications. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826210388
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: BRICK LECTURE SERIES Series
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Sissela Bok is a Senior Visiting Fellow, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She is also the author of numerous books, including Mayhem: Violence as Public Entertainment; Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life; Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation; A Strategy for Peace: Human Values and the Threat of War; and Alva Myrdal: A Daughter's Memoir.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Cultural Diversity and Common Values 10
Ch. 2 The Search for a Common Ethics 42
Ch. 3 What Basis for Morality? A Minimalist Approach 67
Ch. 4 Advocates of Lasting Peace: Utopians or Realists? 82
Ch. 5 Humanitarian Emergencies: Whose Rights? Whose Responsibilities? 104
Index of Names 129
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