A value is a universal value if it has the same value or worth for all, or almost all, people. Spheres of human value encompass morality, aesthetic preference, human traits, human endeavour, and social order. Whether universal values exist is an unproven conjecture of moral philosophy and cultural anthropology, though it is clear that certain values are found across a great diversity of human cultures, such as primary attributes of physical attractiveness (e.g. youthfulness, symmetry) whereas other attributes (e.g. slenderness) are subject to aesthetic relativism as governed by cultural norms. This objection is not limited to aesthetics. Relativism concerning morals is known as moral relativism, a philosophical stance opposed to the existence of universal moral values.
The claim for universal values can be understood in two different ways. First, it could be that something has a universal value when everybody finds it valuable. This was Isaiah Berlin's understanding of the term. According to Berlin, "...universal values....are values that a great many human beings in the vast majority of places and situations, at almost all times, do in fact hold in common, whether consciously and explicitly or as expressed in their behaviour..."Second, something could have universal value when all people have reason to believe it has value. Amartya Sen interprets the term in this way, pointing out that when Mahatma Gandhi argued that non-violence is a universal value, he was arguing that all people have reason to value non-violence, not that all people currently value non-violence. Many different things have been claimed to be of universal value, for example, fertility, pleasure, and democracy. The issue of whether anything is of universal value, and, if so, what that thing or those things are, is relevant to psychology, political science, and philosophy, among other fields.
Philosophical study of universal value addresses questions such as the meaningfulness of universal value or whether universal values exist.
Sociological study of universal value addresses how such values are formed in a society.
S. H. Schwartz, along with a number of psychology colleagues, has carried out empirical research investigating whether there are universal values, and what those values are. Schwartz defined 'values' as "conceptions of the desirable that influence the way people select action and evaluate events".He hypothesised that universal values would relate to three different types of human need: biological needs, social co-ordination needs, and needs related to the welfare and survival of groups. Schwartz's results from a series of studies that included surveys of more than 25,000 people in 44 countries with a wide range of different cultural types suggest that there are fifty-six specific universal values and ten types of universal value. Schwartz's ten types of universal value are: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security. Below are each of the value types, with the specific related values alongside:
Schwartz also tested an eleventh possible universal value, 'spirituality', or 'the goal of finding meaning in life', but found that it does not seem to be recognised in all cultures.
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior". The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.
Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness".
Relativism is a family of philosophical views which deny claims to objectivity within a particular domain and assert that facts in that domain are relative to the perspective of an observer or the context in which they are assessed. There are many different forms of relativism, with a great deal of variation in scope and differing degrees of controversy among them. Moral relativism encompasses the differences in moral judgments among people and cultures. Epistemic relativism holds that there are no absolute facts regarding norms of belief, justification, or rationality, and that there are only relative ones. Alethic relativism is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture. Some forms of relativism also bear a resemblance to philosophical skepticism. Descriptive relativism seeks to describe the differences among cultures and people without evaluation, while normative relativism evaluates the morality or truthfulness of views within a given framework.
Moral relativism or ethical relativism is a term used to describe several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different peoples and their own particular cultures. An advocate of such ideas is often labeled simply as a relativist for short. In detail, descriptive moral relativism holds only that people do, in fact, disagree fundamentally about what is moral, with no judgment being expressed on the desirability of this. Meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong. Normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, everyone ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when considerably large disagreements about the morality of particular things exist.
Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist and philosopher, who since 1972 has taught and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States. Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, decision theory, development economics, public health, and measures of well-being of countries.
Cultural relativism is the idea that a person's beliefs, values, and practices should be understood based on that person's own culture, and not be judged against the criteria of another.
A worldview or world-view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the whole of the individual's or society's knowledge and point of view. A worldview can include natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics.
This Index of ethics articles puts articles relevant to well-known ethical debates and decisions in one place - including practical problems long known in philosophy, and the more abstract subjects in law, politics, and some professions and sciences. It lists also those core concepts essential to understanding ethics as applied in various religions, some movements derived from religions, and religions discussed as if they were a theory of ethics making no special claim to divine status.
Asian customs and values, or just Asian values, is a cultural and political ideology which defines elements of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, artifacts and technologies common to the nations of Southeast and East Asia, both historically and presently. It aims to use commonalities – for example, the principles of collectivism or communitarianism – to unify people for their economic and social good and to create a pan-Asian identity. This contrasted with and challenged the perceived Western ideals of individualism, which is felt as incompatible for the region. The concept was advocated by Mahathir Mohamad, Lee Kuan Yew, Park Chung Hee and Shinzo Abe and other Asian leaders.
Moral psychology is a field of study in both philosophy and psychology. Historically, the term "moral psychology" was used relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development. Moral psychology eventually came to refer more broadly to various topics at the intersection of ethics, psychology, and philosophy of mind. Some of the main topics of the field are moral judgment, moral reasoning, moral sensitivity, moral responsibility, moral motivation, moral identity, moral action, moral development, moral diversity, moral character, altruism, psychological egoism, moral luck, moral forecasting, moral emotion, affective forecasting, and moral disagreement.
A value judgment is a judgment of the rightness or wrongness of something or someone, or of the usefulness of something or someone, based on a comparison or other relativity. As a generalization, a value judgment can refer to a judgment based upon a particular set of values or on a particular value system. A related meaning of value judgment is an expedient evaluation based upon limited information at hand, an evaluation was undertaken because a decision must be made on short notice.
Philosophy and economics, also philosophy of economics, studies topics such as rational choice, the appraisal of economic outcomes, institutions and processes, and the ontology of economic phenomena and the possibilities of acquiring knowledge of them.
This glossary of philosophy is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to philosophy and related disciplines, including logic, ethics, and theology.
Secular ethics is a branch of moral philosophy in which ethics is based solely on human faculties such as logic, empathy, reason or moral intuition, and not derived from belief in supernatural revelation or guidance—the source of ethics in many religions. Secular ethics refers to any ethical system that does not draw on the supernatural, and includes humanism, secularism and freethinking. A classical example of literature on secular ethics is the Kural text, authored by the ancient Tamil Indian philosopher Valluvar.
Shalom H. Schwartz is a social psychologist, cross-cultural researcher and creator of the Theory of Basic Human Values. He also contributed to the formulation of the values scale in the context of social learning theory and social cognitive theory.
Patterns of Sexual Behavior is a 1951 book by anthropologist Clellan S. Ford and ethologist Frank A. Beach, in which the authors integrate information about human sexual behavior from different cultures, and include detailed comparisons across animal species, with particular emphasis on primates. The book received positive reviews and has been called a classic. It provided the foundation for the later research of Masters and Johnson. A revised edition, titled Human Sexuality in Four Perspectives, was published in 1977.
In philosophy, objectivity is the concept of truth independent from individual subjectivity. A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject. Scientific objectivity refers to the ability to judge without partiality or external influence. Objectivity in the moral framework calls for moral codes to be assessed based on the well-being of the people in the society that follow it. Moral objectivity also calls for moral codes to be compared to one another through a set of universal facts and not through Subjectivity.
Values scales are psychological inventories used to determine the values that people endorse in their lives. They facilitate the understanding of both work and general values that individuals uphold. In addition, they assess the importance of each value in people's lives and how the individual strives toward fulfillment through work and other life roles, such as parenting. Most scales have been normalized and can therefore be used cross-culturally for vocational, marketing, and counseling purposes, yielding unbiased results. Psychologists, political scientists, economists, and others interested in defining values, use values scales to determine what people value, and to evaluate the ultimate function or purpose of values.
The Theory of Basic Human values, developed by Shalom H. Schwartz, is a theory in the field of intercultural research. The author considers the theory as an essential extension of previous approaches to comparative intercultural research theories, such as the Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory, and has been extensively applied in cross-cultural studies of individual values. The Theory of Basic Human Values tries to measure Universal Values that are recognised throughout all major cultures. Schwartz's theory identifies ten such motivationally distinct values and further describes the dynamic relations amongst them. To better graphically portray these relationships, the theory arranges the ten values in a circular structure.
In religion, ethics, philosophy, and psychology "good and evil" is a very common dichotomy. In cultures with Manichaean and Abrahamic religious influence, evil is usually perceived as the dualistic antagonistic opposite of good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated. In cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence, both good and evil are perceived as part of an antagonistic duality that itself must be overcome through achieving Śūnyatā meaning emptiness in the sense of recognition of good and evil being two opposing principles but not a reality, emptying the duality of them, and achieving a oneness. A monism of goodness would guarantee prosperity since only good can exist, whereas a monism of evil would lead to our extinction.
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