Standardizing Ethics East and West: The Need to Conform to a One World Standard

Standardizing Ethics East and West: The Need to Conform to a One World Standard

F. Sigmund Topor (Keio University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2650-6.ch009
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Abstract

A basic element that separates primates from us Homo sapiens is language, which serves as a socializing catalyst for interpersonal and intercultural communication. Linguistic rules can be regarded as the ethics of communication. Without such rules, encoding and decoding of communication between a speaker/writer and a listener/reader would be impossible. Etiquette and the social emotion of shame, which have dissimilar connotations in Confucian heritage cultures of the East and Socratic or Judeo-Christian cultures of the West, are examples of moral qualities having different attributes and applications for diverse peoples. Whereas distinctive societies, cultures, and civilizations define morality based on their particular history and culture, including religion, humans everywhere are the same. Thus, drawing on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 1762 Social Contract, the current reality of globalization requires a cultural contract that harmonizes the morals and ethics of Eastern and Western civilizations.
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Background

Did morality originate in the animal kingdom to satisfy a need for physiological and sociopolitical advancement? A basic element separating primates from us homo sapiens is said to be language (Arbib, 2005; Stanley Greenspan & Shanker, 2009), which serves as a socializing catalyst (Rizzolatti & Arbib, 1998) for interpersonal and intercultural communication. Linguistic rules can be regarded as the ethics of communication. Without such rules comprehension it would be impossible for a listener or reader to understand or comprehend what a speaker or writer encoded. Flannery and Marcus (2012) maintained that language is the decisive factor that distinguishes apes from humans and that the use of visceral, irrational force in regulating the affairs of humans has been averted by the natural gift of language. Nevertheless, other forces also converged to impose cohabitation. Social contract theory (Baker, 2013; Dunfee, Smith, & Ross, 1999; Hampton, 1988; Skyrms, 2014; Timmermann, 2009) is a Western moral and/or ethical theory that is associated with philosophers such as David Hume (1711–1776), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), John Locke (1632–1704), and Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), among others.

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