Foundations of Futures Studies: Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society

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Futures studies aim to demystify the future, to make possibilities for the future more known to us, and to increase human control over the future. Concern with ethics, morality, and human values is a natural outgrowth of the quest for preferable futures. This second volume of Foundations of Futures Studies focuses on the development of the ethical foundations of futures studies. Deciding what the good society is requires procedures and standards of moral judgment to evaluate ...

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Overview

Futures studies aim to demystify the future, to make possibilities for the future more known to us, and to increase human control over the future. Concern with ethics, morality, and human values is a natural outgrowth of the quest for preferable futures. This second volume of Foundations of Futures Studies focuses on the development of the ethical foundations of futures studies. Deciding what the good society is requires procedures and standards of moral judgment to evaluate norms and values themselves.

In this pathbreaking new book, Wendell Bell moves beyond cultural relativism to critical evaluation. Beginning with descriptions of the good society in the proto-social science of early Utopian writers and tracing the work of modern futurists on preferable futures, he shows how moral analysis can be done objectively and why it ought to become a part of the modern social sciences and policy studies. Bell explains how universal human values came to exist and how they ought to be changed to permit all people to live good and long lives in the coming global society of the future.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An application of futures studies methodology and theory directing readers' attentions to the force of ethics and morality in determining future realities. Bell (sociology, Yale U.) argues that moral analysis should become a part of all the human sciences, critically evaluating the "good society" of utopian writers, demonstrating objective methods of moral judgment, assessing religion and law as sources of morality, and exploring the existence of universal human values<-->including the value of human life itself. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
“Bell is primarily concerned with the 'ethical foundations' or methods for deciding what things, events, arrangements, actions, and consequences are better than others in future studies… A must read for future studies specialists and their graduate students.” —D. V. Waller, Choice "While the tone is sedate, Bell's ideas often strike sparks.... Bell concludes futurologists must (and sociologists should) discuss how society ought to be, because our survival depends on our soon restoring the 'good' to scientific inquiry into the human condition." –Arthur B. Shostak, Contemporary Sociology "This book is a masterpiece! It makes an extraordinary contribution to studies of the future." –Allen Tough, University of Toronto "A truly remarkable book, reflecting a life-long study of the future and scholarship of the highest order...visionary—in the best sense of the term." –Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University "Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society will provide a basis for the study of the complex interplay between values and visions of the future for years to come. Its horizon spans a dozen disciplines; it is unique, courageous, and scholarly. Professor Bell tackles the toughest question that futurists, politicians, and ordinary people can ask: 'What is a good future?'" —Theodore J. Gordon, founder and former president, The Futures Group, Inc.

“This is an important book… Its major concepts such as values, morality, objectivity, and the ‘good society’ are clearly an essential part of any thoughtful discussion of altruism or solidarity… Bell’s book is especially useful in placing debates about altruism/solidarity in the broader context of universal values and global needs… Perhaps the biggest impact of Bell’s work on the field of altruism/solidarity relates to a shift from merely describing and explaining ‘what is’ to a consideration of ‘what ought to be’… Bell’s book could serve as a foundation for a paradigm shift in how the sociology of altruism/solidarity is practiced… Bell’s book should be required reading for anyone interested in the possibility of a better future.” – Mathew T. Lee, Altruism & Social Solidarity

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560002819
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendell Bell is professor emeritus of sociology at Yale University, where he also served as chair of the department. Bell has written more than 200 articles and authored or co-authored numerous books, including Social Area Analysis, Public Leadership, and Foundations of Futures Studies (two volumes).

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