Toward a Moral System for World Society: A Reflection on Human Responsibilities [Abstract]
Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 12 (1998)
December 4, 1998
A group of statesmen, known as the InterAction Council, in consultation with
theologians and philosophers representing many cultures, has come up with a
proposed Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities. It contains rules of
behavior for all people based on what its authors believe to be a global
consensus centering on the Golden Rule. In unveiling a global ethic, the council
has, perhaps unwittingly, opened up the so-far-neglected question of what a
complete moral system for world society would look like.
This essay analyses the Declaration and its related report with regard to two areas: its ecumenical religious basis and its theme of responsibility, with particular attention to the question of balance between rights and responsibilities. The question is then asked: Does a global ethic imply community? An answer to this question is sought by examining Richard Alexander's new biological theory, which presents ethics as a means of pursuing interests through collectivity. The text of the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities is appended.
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