The Human Values Project

Free societies face the problem of how to foster cohesion amidst diversity.  In a world of fragmentation and conflict, how can we create personal and shared values to live by?  How can we bridge the gaps among alternative beliefs, values and ideologies?  Share your stories and ideas about the importance of living a purposeful life, and how we can create shared values to live by in a diverse world.

stories of transformation

How to Discuss Politics (Or Any Other Sensitive Topic) Without Hostility

By | Conflict Resolution, How to Discuss Politics | No Comments

We live in a polarized society.  It is difficult for people who hold different viewpoints to have a reasonable discussion.  If someone disagrees with us, they are crazy, stupid, or out of touch.  Facebook is the worst culprit.  Take a look at virtually any political meme on Facebook.  It will tell you just how stupid the other side is and just how smart the people are who agree with the meme.

This is a formula for disaster.  We have to learn to speak to each other.

Why Debates Don’t Work

It is possible.  The key to having a difficult discussion is to stop thinking of it as a debate and to start thinking of it as a kind of shared problem solvingRead More

Is Radical Individualism Destroying our Moral Compass?

By | The Problem We Face | No Comments

We seem to have retreated into a kind of private morality.  But a private morality is a contradiction in terms.

Individual rights are the bedrock of a free society.  In a liberal democracy, individuals have the moral right to make their own choices free from arbitrary intrusion – subject to the constraint that they do not interfere with the same freedoms in others.  However, although rights are essential for the functioning of a free state, they are insufficient as guides to guides to moral action. Beyond the idea that we should respect the rights of others, a rights-based morality tells us little about how we ought to act toward others or who we ought to be.  In a liberal democracy, such questions – that is, questions about the nature of the good — are properly left to the people. Read More

Values are Inescapable Aspects of Everything We Do

By | Values Matter | No Comments

We often think of values and morality as if they were something optional, limiting, oppressive or perhaps imposed on us by some external authority.  But this is not necessarily so. Everything we do is in some way organized by our value systems.  They are inescapable.  And if that is true, then it would be a good idea for us to become aware and take control of the values we live by.

Values matter.   Value are judgments about the extent to which something is good and bad, right or wrong, or worthy or unworthy.  Values  include judgments of what it is that we think is important in life.  If something is important, it has value to us.   Values range in their degree of importance.  We may call some values moral values because we think that they should be upheld by all people, regardless of who Read More