A Universal Ethic for a Globalizing World: Accommodation, Rights and Human Values

Diogenes 60 (1):37-53 (2013)

The present moment in human history is marked by the ever-accelerating movement across the world of materials, peoples, and information, creating various problems but also opportunities as well –especially for the movement of people. Such demographic movement makes multiculturalism a major issue for many societies. Differences between immigrants and the society receiving them tend to create conflict, as another culture encroaching upon one’s own culture is often felt as a threatening challenge to one’s identity. Within any society, identity is constructed in the subjective process of culture. But where two or more cultures come into close contact, a dominance–subordination struggle frequently develops between their respective subjectivities. One solution to such conflict might be found in the legal provision of equality of rights for all members of society, including cultural minorities. But if the legal solution alone is considered, the resources accumulated in cultures as enabling agents for amenable social coexistence would go unused, and tension and conflict will frequently persist. As an intermediate position, cultural subjectivities, whether personal or collective, could be induced to constitute a complex system of federated subjectivities within the general society. Even such a system may not, however, be completely effective. The adoption by all parties of an ethic universally conceived on the minimal basis could meet the urgent need to prevent escalation of conflict, but its ultimate goal would be to prepare a common ground for the development of a global culture incorporating multiple cultures as historically inherited resources for the enrichment of human life. Ethical awareness is what reveals the otherness of the other and also the ontological ground of human life on earth; as ethics and epistemology coincide, a human reason would emerge as the ground of a new global culture, and the world would hopefully become a single Lebensraum for the whole of humanity
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DOI 10.1177/0392192114546276
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