Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart

Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart

Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart

Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart


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Why, despite their best efforts, do good people find themselves in conflict? Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart introduces a novel approach to ethics that consistently dissolves conflict, restores goodwill, builds common purpose, and helps people thrive. Developed from years of scholarship and proven practice, this insightful approach to conflict resolution is effective in boardrooms and family rooms, classrooms and committees, faith communities and government agencies.

Rooted in rigorous ethical thinking, Cooperative Wisdom is highly readable. Written as a spirited exchange between an acclaimed philosopher and an inquisitive journalist, it has the energetic, inviting feel of a great conversation. Dr. Donald Scherer sets forth the human virtues that promote sustainability in natural and social environments. Award-winning journalist Carolyn Jabs asks the tough and pointed questions a smart reader would raise. Their collaboration distills a lifetime of research and analysis into practical principles that crack open stubborn problems and reveal cooperative solutions to persistent conflicts.

Cooperative Wisdom starts with the observation that human beings flourish in settings where cooperation produces mutual benefits. That's why people put so much effort into creating strong marriages, resilient families, robust associations, responsible companies, progressive communities, and effective governments. When change threatens these systems-as it inevitably does-cooperators find themselves in conflict even though they sincerely tried to do the right thing.
The authors then introduce readers to five social virtues: habits of thought and action that sustain cooperation despite change and conflict.
• Proactive compassion anticipates and responds to vulnerability.
• Deep discernment uncovers bedrock values.
• Intentional imagination expands our sense of what's possible.
• Inclusive integrity reworks cooperative structures so everyone can thrive.
• Creative courage embraces the risks of engagement.
For each virtue, the book recommends three practical strategies that will help readers learn how to apply the virtues in their own lives. Readers gain insight into how these practices work through examples drawn from history, current events, family life, and even scripture.
During his long and distinguished career as an environmental ethicist, Dr. Scherer has witnessed the power of these social virtues and practices. Both he and students he has trained have shown them to be effective in a wide range of personal, social, political, and environmental settings-from beta testing electric vehicles to securing the safety of donated blood supplies, from restoring a degraded ecosystem in Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley to helping parents find safe online environments for kids.

Cooperative Wisdom will appeal to anyone frustrated by disruptive change and apparently intractable disputes. The social virtues it describes open up promising paths where there seem to be nothing but dead ends. Providing clear, practical guidance that expands our understanding of what it means to be and do good in a complex world, this book equips readers to respond constructively to change, transcend conflict, and strengthen the communities on which our well-being depends.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997166811
Publisher: Green Wave Books
Publication date: 05/15/2016
Pages: 236
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dr. Donald Scherer is Professor Emeritus in the Philosophy Department of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. For more than 40 years, he has thought deeply about environmental ethics and social environments in which people can thrive. Cooperative Wisdom distills insights gleaned from his research and writing, teaching and mentoring.

Dr. Scherer has also put his ideas into practice, winning national respect for devising innovative partnerships that respond effectively to incipient conflict. He has consulted with businesses, faith communities, volunteer organizations, and educational institutions including Georgia State University where he facilitated cooperation between the university and the surrounding metropolitan area and Santa Clara University where he worked to improve regional water management.

Among other projects, he has advised the World Wildlife Fund on enlisting Fortune 500 corporations in ecological restoration, promoted interfaith dialogue through the World Council of Churches, developed ethical guidelines for minimizing the harm associated with responding to oil spills with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), devised plans for exotic species management with regional park systems, and consulted with various cities on innovative design for urban corridors.

Dr. Scherer served as past president of Green Energy Ohio. He is the lead author of Upstream/Downstream: Issues in Environmental Ethics and co-author with Dr. James Child of Two Paths towards Peace. He lives with his wife, Char, in a wind-powered home in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Carolyn Jabs, MA, is an experienced professional writer with a reputation for insight and sensitivity in dealing with complex social issues. She has written hundreds of articles about families, ethics, environmental issues, and the Internet.

Her work has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, Newsweek, Working Mother, and Family PC. Her award-winning column, Growing Up Online, is featured in regional parenting publications across the country. She is the author of The Heirloom Gardener and a contributor to Children and Nature: Making Connections.

Carolyn and her husband, David, live in Santa Barbara, California where she participates in the Women's Fund, serves on the Board of the local chapter of the Association for Women in Communications and practices tai chi.

Table of Contents

Five Virtues that Dissolve Conflict and Restore Cooperation

Chapter 1
Being Good Is Not Enough:
Why We Need Social Virtues Now More than Ever

Chapter 2
Proactive Compassion:
Anticipating and Responding to Vulnerabilities
1. Respond to risks revealed by specialization
2. Intercept harms triggered by change
3. Address gaps between assigned responsibilities

Chapter 3
Deep Discernment :
Discovering Bedrock Values
1. Distinguish values from means
2. Be vigilant about accumulating harms
3. Honor multiple points of view

Chapter 4
Intentional Imagination:
Expanding What's Possible
1. Examine assumptions
2. Extend known resources
3. Excavate concealed resources

Chapter 5
Inclusive Integrity:
Reworking Cooperation So Everyone Can Thrive
1. Enlist flexible specialists
2. Anticipate predictable weakness
3. Treat every plan as a hypothesis

Chapter 6
Creative Courage:
Embracing the Risks of Engagement
1. Address the failing hypothesis
2. Confront imbalanced benefits without undue blame
3. Hold tight to the cooperative vision

Chapter 7
Cooperative Wisdom:
The Social Virtues in Action


The Five Virtues and Fifteen Practices That Support Them


About the Authors

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