Second Nature Home > Short Essays by Dan Bruiger >

Ethics and Ingrouping

An ethical system must be based on accepted values, just as a formal system must have its assumed axioms, and a game must have its rules and defined elements. The central task of ethics is therefore to find basic values that can be agreed upon—the premises of the system. Traditionally, however, what facilitates such agreement is the shared conviction that these are not mere premises or arbitrary conventions but objective truths. Ideals and social conventions are cherished as intersubjectively given realities; for, what unites a group is a common perception of the world. In short, the Ideal must be perceived as real in order to be upheld consensually. People do share much genetically and by living together on the same planet. But there is also great variety among both individuals and environments within this commonality, and the subjective variable allows for enormous variance in how the world is perceived. Societies solve this problem through shared ideals, beliefs and values, continually renewed within the group. At the same time, these may foster division, hatred, and strife between groups, and this remains the weak point of human society. The cosmopolitan vision of a unified world culture depends on an unlikely universal agreement about the games in play, their rules and premises.

RELATED TAGS: [ethical/formal system, group/social cohesion, inherited ethos, common genetic/cultural heritage, unified/ununited human race, human diversity and ingrouping, enforced commonality, social divisiveness, cosmopolitanism, cosmopolitan vision/world, multiculturalism, pluralism, racial war, universal consensus, Desmond Morris, the human zoo, primate heritage/ingrouping]

© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.