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Deni Elliott

In: Communication Ethics and Universal Values

Chapter 4: Universal Values and Moral Development Theories

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Universal Values and Moral Development Theories
Universal values and moral development theories

Viewed from a wide angle, the world's communities and subcommunities appear to be an array of values, a colorful moral kaleidoscope. But these dissimilarities among values, as striking as they are, mask the similarity behind the “colors”—the species-specific “crystals” that create discernible and consistent patterns amid the array of value-colors. The argument for universal values, like moral development theories, builds on the notion of similarities among human behavior that stretch across space, culture, and time. Variations can be explained by adequate theory. As James Q. Wilson (1993) explains,

Two errors arise in attempting to understand the human condition. One is to assume that culture is everything, the other to assume that it is nothing. In ...

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