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ERIC Number: EJ854073
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Dec
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
On Self-Evident Truths
Etzioni, Amitai
Academic Questions, v16 n1 p11-15 Dec 2002
Social scientists have suggested that all societies adhere to certain universal values. One form or another of the Golden Rule, for example, appears in all cultures. It may follow that, if we want to rise above cultural relativism, we might adopt values that humans seem to share and agree on already. The author of this article dismisses various arguments of relativism, laying the claim that there is a limited but crucial set of self-evident truths that speak to us in an unmistakable voice, and that provide a foundation for universal moral claims. Constitutions, universal declarations, and moral dialogues may take us part of the way, but something is still missing. The author contends that the missing factor consists of what the Founding Fathers resoundingly called self-evident truths. The founders did not speak of self-evident truths for Americans, as some would have it, but of concepts self-evident to anyone who will open his mind and heart. He states that there are a limited number of moral statements that speak in an unmistakable voice that is deontologically persuasive to most human beings. After we have heard that voice, we are free to examine it, but reason follows the revelation. Revelation is not based on reason, but protected and specified by it.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United States Constitution; Universal Declaration of Human Rights