The origin of the moral. Ethics and values in the current society

El origen de la moral. Ética y valores en la sociedad actual

This book is not only a compilation cleansed of theoretical concerns and endeavours, academic outstanding in the work of Salvador Giner. It is a substantial study about the real origins of attitudes and moral beliefs. In it you will discover the causes of the ethical precepts, and the conflicts that generated them. Your reading will be of great use for those who are concerned in inquiring into the composition of the moral convictions of the essential principles of citizenship, human rights or decency published required.

Luis Moreno (RIS, Vol. 71, No. 1, p. 243)

Above the moral law is the intuition ethic that is shared by all human beings

We are moral beings: we judge the conduct of others and of yourself. We have values, beliefs, invoke the rules or the violation. Where does all of this? Professor Salvador Giner explore in this essay, lucidly, and without limitation, the real sources of values and fundamental moral attitudes. Reveals the causes of the ethical precepts, and the conflicts that generated them. Against the common idea of the confusion of current values, The origin of the moral proposes a secular ethics, universal and robust.

Our time, which so many considered a wasteland of moral convictions firm is also the one of the essential principles of citizenship, human rights, public decency required. The answer that provides The source of morality, against the entire position is relativistic, or that invokes supernatural forces, is powerful, hopeful, rational, and republican. Convincing.

Those who yesterday used to survey the world with ambition hopeful auguraban noble victories: falls of empires, aboliciones of slavery, growing prosperity, female emancipation and the triumph of reason and knowledge objective, advent final of brotherhood among the nations. Do not was paid by the general progress of events that hope? The industrial revolution, the advances of science, the secularization of the world and the decline of the deception, were currents more powerful than the humiliations and misfortunes which bred tyranny, the religious obscurantism and the wars’s most heinous. Defeats, setbacks, and reversals, are not sufficient to undermine the secular faith in the progress, moral by definition, of the human race.

Salvador Giner (p. 15)

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Interview with Salvador Giner in For all The 2 on “The origin of the moral”

El origen de la moral. Ética y valores en la sociedad actual Salvador Giner, Professor

Review by Luis Moreno in RIS, Vol. 71, No. 1

Master of sociologists long academic career, Giner has always shied away from sticking to the confines of the social sciences. With repeated efforts, their works have re-offended in the field of moral philosophy to prevail, as in the case of this book, the urge to explore overlaps and dichotomies of the social life in the crossroads of our modern democracies advanced. This is of the persuasion of the author by the close link between social science and ethics.

The trial is now recensiona proposes as a general objective to clear a enigma of deep draft –and not less permanence– which is the belief in the material and moral progress of humanity. As if an ideal panglossiano it were, Giner asks about the sociogenesis of the moral and linked their research in order to arrive at the development of an ethic of integrated vocation all-inclusive. It cautions us that The origin of morals is a book sociological ‘macroética’ in an acceptance of more conceptual –and even ahistorical– that rules. Constitutes, therefore, a set of analyses that focused on the moral order prevailing in the human society, but not specifically about the relationships that can arise between people in specific situations. However, the author himself uses the expression ‘macroética’ to understand how it might work –or should work– the health system of a country, the international trade or the distribution of tax burdens, for example.

Claim The origin of morality,the articulation of arguments more satisfactory to explain the production and effect of judgments, norms and moral values that are not purely philosophical or biological. Begged, therefore, to examine the most distant origins of the moral sentiments in the human species, scope of the study of neuroscientists, and primatologists, and in which sociobiology claims of his contribution to the understanding of the moral nature of human. It acknowledges receipt, also, of the alarming possibility of modifying, by means of drugs or biological disturbances, the moral character of the people. But Giner rejects biological determinism as an explanandum independent to understand the ethics in the world today and the moral evolution of humanity, precisely in historical phases, which are characterized by cultures and civilizations complex. Reflections and studies of assemblies in the essay by sociologist Catalan avoid the simplification of the ‘anything goes’, although you assume in the best tradition simmeliana that the production of moral socially valid is essentially relational.

According to its author, the essay aims to be a contribution to the reflexivity of the moral of our shared world conducted by the social science. The answer that offers Giner against the entire position is relativistic,or that invokes supernatural forces, escontundente and hopeful. Against the idea of the confusion of current values, The origin of the moral proposes a secular ethics, universal and robust. To do this, it is in the book a defense of secular rationality and universalism, secular and republican as components ineluctable of the common morality. We fight those who argue the absence of a general moral and, in this sense, refers ilustrativamente to the growing weight of human rights as an essential part of the transition morality of modernity and the requirement of an international justice linked to the secularism secular west. His undisguisable ‘eurocentrism’ situates it in the framework of their elective affinities neokantianas, knowing how difficult it is to sustain them in a world dominated by utilitarianism, especially in social science.

In sociological terms, the theoretical approach derives from a conception of morality as a result of the conflict. It is, in this sense, a rehearsal of ‘the sociology conflictivista’, which is related to what has been called ‘the sociology analytical’, which is, in the opinion of the author, an aspect of the sociologia perennis. Is inserted this theoretical approach in a vision of moral as a result of the logical situation. Accordingly, it is assumed that the moral effect in each case depends on the logic of the situation in which it takes place. This implies that morality is the result of the interaction of three main elements: (1) the social structure, which includes the distribution of power, influence, and resources among those who share a situation; (2) the intentions, passions, emotions and interests that guide their conduct; and (3) the beliefs and attitudes they possessed. For Giner the main force in the constitution of the moral appropriate of the constitution of the social structure, followed by intentions and interests of their members and, only in the third place, the beliefs and valuations.

It should be agreed that the social structure, and within it especially the institutions, make up the valuations and the foundations of axiological of the citizens. However, social scientists tend to pay less attention to the dynamic inverse, that is to say, the effect of the values and beliefs of citizens about the structures and institutions that shape, in turn, the logic of situational morality prevailing in our societies. The question of the direction of causality between the values of the citizens and the institutions it constitutes without doubt a complex issue, given the interactions and feedbacks existing between the two dimensions. But it should not be forgotten that human beings do not only react to external stimuli, but do so primarily from their own interpretation of such stimuli. These interpretations would be largely based on the framework of cognitive culture and the axiom to which belong the individuals. Is this process teleological is a permanent challenge to the social researchers, who in recent times concentrate a greater interest for analytical –and sometimes exclusive, in the case of any school neoinstitucionalista– in the first part of the route, circular argumentative.

The clearing of epistemological, the logical situation is based on reflections already carried out with relish in previous scientific publications. Is this a rasgocaracterístico in the work of Giner: its character of reprocessing that do not escape a good part of the chapters included in this volume. Indicates the persistence of efforts dilated in the time in the search of refinement analytical and fairly conceptual. The cumulative nature of observations and updates now joins a higher degree of eloquence in the presentation of proposals and findings. Also suggest new paths of exploration, always unfinished, as illustrated by the difficult reconciliation between rationality substantive and instrumental, or the possibilities of epistemological to the logical situation advanced by the Giner.

Certainly there are numerous frames analytics that have an impact on the eleven dense chapters of the trial, and that has caught the attention of the author. Cannot be reviewed in this brief critique of each and every one of them, but yes it is worth proceeding to the examination, there is still a perspective, of some of them which the author has paid special attention in his last works, including the present. So, the ‘theorem of the impossibility’ of Kenneth Arrow, according to which any choice based on a range of preferences satisfy a set of criteria when there are several options. (NB. On minimum conditions of democracy), offers Giner the possibility of criticizing the explanation of altruism, charity, brotherhood and solidarity from the point of view of methodological individualism. The notion of a ‘selfishness illustrated’ or intelligent, although it does help often to explain human altruism, is not enough. All too often, we see that the obsession economizing of the followers of the rational choice consists in an exacerbated individualism, denier of the essence social of the human being. In the advanced democracies citizenship assumed as ‘given’ the moral altruistic of the modern welfare state. The people assume that the ‘remove’ on their salaries for social security contributions and the payment of taxes several serve to finance pensions, health care or public education. Such acceptance is often kind of vague and up to implied. That is to say, it is accepted even though it lacks the detailed information that such transvases of economic resources involved. It is worth to call it as altruism ‘mechanical’, but its moral consequences are of crucial importance to the lives of the people and their personal and social well being. The ignorance that implies such a ‘mecanicidad’ is sublimated in a awareness for their loss in situations of crisis, such as triggered after the crack of 2007. The loss of social services and the increase in the deficit of citizenship of broad sectors of the population, as a result of budget cuts or detours to the richest of savings and incomes of the poorest, and ‘wakes up’ the true scope and understanding of the solidarity between the people. Is installed, immediately followed by a feeling of ‘paradise lost’ with the loss of public programs and policies for citizens ‘ protection as it illustrates, sadly, the decline of the welfare state in mediterranean Europe.

Linked to the above is the consideration discussed by Giner around the citizens one-dimensional –or men-mass and one-way– and her relationship with possessive individualism. Your ‘rabid’ today’ and implications in the present economic crisis does not sóloafecta the future model of capitalism –subject monographically treated by the author in his previous trial in 2010, but conditions the coming scenarios of moral legitimating of the fraternity or agudizadores of its deterioration. Remember that the possessive individualism not only proclaims the liberation of individuals from their ligámenes collective, but that makes the building autonomous in their own biographies of life. Instead of a militant hostility toward the social collective, the individualistic ‘possessive’ prefer a position of self-sufficiency in key staff with an avoidance of moral obligations. But, as it reminds us of Giner, in a society formed by citizens where it is only ‘to be saved to the distances’ and to produce isolation, it is difficult to the elimination of vassalage. This would be a consequence of the transformation of the citizen emancipated, demanding, and creator engendered by modernity in other manipulable, gullible, consumer chronic, vulgar, lonely, and, therefore, amoral.

It should be highlighted the superb final section of the volume, ‘Notes, sources and bibliography’. As we have been accustomed to author in other previous trials, the section bibliography includes not only references to the numerous sources used by Giner and, as a consequence, we report their ‘cognitive bias’. Make up a very helpful orientation to the reading of relevant texts and associated with the issues raised in the various chapters of the book. The reader interested in deepening the knowledge and understanding of the analysis, ideas and reflections presented by the author, thank you very much for the compendium and bibliographic guide.

This book is not only a compilation cleansed of theoretical concerns and endeavours, academic outstanding in the work of Salvador Giner. It is a substantial study about the real origins of attitudes and moral beliefs. In it you will discover the causes of the ethical precepts, and the conflicts that generated them. Your reading will be of great use for those who are concerned in inquiring into the composition of the moral convictions of the essential principles of citizenship, human rights or decency published required. Surely, the reader will appreciate the treatment of topics well distant from the silliness in the media, of public apathy or indifference for the collective well-being, so widespread in these times.

Luis Moreno

Institute of Public Goods and Policies (CSIC)

The origin of the morals in the media

  • Salvador Giner: “We have lost the moral priorities” (The Country, 26/01/2013)
  • Salvador Giner: The origin of morality. Ethics and values in today’s society (The Fair, 18/06/2014)
  • Salvador Giner: “sociology is The moral of our time” (Interview in Philosophy Today)

Brief review on Salvador Giner

El origen de la moral. Ética y valores en la sociedad actual

Salvador Giner, after graduating in Law, he studied sociology in Cologne. Master and Phd in sociology and social theory at the University of Chicago. Post-graduate studies at Cambridge. Taught in English universities of Reading, Lancaster, and West London (Brunel), where he was Director of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He has been professor at the Universities of Rome, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Valencia (Venezuela) and the Sorbonne.

Professor at the University of Barcelona since 1989 ,was also at the University Pompeu Fabra. Founded and presidión the Spanish Federation of Sociology. Co-founder of the European Association of Sociology. He directed the Institute for Advanced Social Studies, CSIC. Directed International Journal of Sociology. Co-founder of the European Journal of Sociology. From 2005 until today, is the chair of the Institut d’estudis Catalans, the academy of the sciences and the humanities.

Salvador Giner is one of the most relevant sociologists and representative of the social philosophy and moral in Spain. In addition to his many empirical studies macrosociológicos , is the author of authoritative works on the dynamics of the civil societies, democracy, citizenship and the evolution of ethics, many translated into several languages. Among which stands out this same treaty, his two books on the history of sociological theory, the Dictionary of Sociology, Mass Society , and its recent Origin of the Moral.

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