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Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada 2010 International Cultural Research Network Conference Halifax NS.

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Presentation on theme: "Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada 2010 International Cultural Research Network Conference Halifax NS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada 2010 International Cultural Research Network Conference Halifax NS

2 Finding a moral ground for a globalized world

3  Responsibilities complement rights  Responsibilities infringe on rights  Responsibilities take precedence over rights  World is so different that new norms are needed

4  Bills or declarations of responsible humans have powerful support of luminary world leaders (emeritus politicians, faith leaders, scientists, artists, philosophers and Nobel Laureates)  BUT – also strong opposition from Western capitalistic nation states, some “developing- country” states, lawyers, and some non- government organizations (especially Amnesty International)

5  1993 The Carta of Human Duties (International Council of Human Duties  1993 Declaration Toward a Global Ethic (Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions)  1995 Our Global Neighbourhood (Commission on Global Governance)  1997 Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities (The InterAction Council)

6  1998 The Universal Declaration of Global Ethic (Temple University)  1998 The Charter of Human Responsibilities (the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World)  1998 Universal Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities (UNESCO Valencia)  1999 A Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21 st Century (UNESCO)

7  2000 Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities (former Hart Center UK)  2000 Earth Charter (The Earth Charter Initiative)  2003 Declaration on Human Social Responsibilities (UN Human Rights Commission (now the Human Rights Council)

8  1993 Parliament of the World’s Churches  1997 InterAction Council  1998 UNESCO Valencia Initiative  2003 UN Human Rights Commission


10 COMMUNITARIAN VERSUS FAITH-BASED  Western notions of individualism (rights) neglected responsibilities  Failure to give duties equal footing with rights caused today’s problems  Western notion of rights is not the only right’s perspective  Need a global ethical standard that reflects principles entrenched in world’s religions CONVERSE VERSUS CORRELATIVE DUTIES  Responsibilities owed by individuals to society  Vertical duties that run upwards towards society  Responsibility of individual to respect the rights of other individuals  Horizontal duties that run between (across) actors

11 ‘AN ETHIC’ VERSUS ETHICS  A global ethic represents shared ethical values, attitudes and criteria to which all nations and interest groups commit themselves – a universal ethical manifesto  Ethics refers to uniform ethical system (codes of ethics of which some are legally enforceable, norms) ETHICAL VERSUS LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES  Ethical responsibilities are personally felt by a person who is internally motivated to accept the duty out of a sense of conscience, love and the dignity of humanity (duty towards others and the community)  Legal responsibilities are duties that are imposed by an external body or authority

12  Transcultural undertandings and interpretations of core concepts – the conundrum created when people of different languages and cultures try to agree on how to define and translate:  Duty  Obligation  Responsibility NOTE – Küng (2005) observed most initiatives tend to use responsibility because it emphasizes inner responsibility (‘an ethic’) rather than external law (ethics); the term responsibility exerts a moral pressure but does not legally compel

13 Duties to Society Responsibility

14  1993 - Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) Hans Küng  1997 - InterAction Council Hans Küng  1998 - UNESCO/Valencia Richard Goldstone  2003 - UNHRC Miguel Algonso Martinez

15  CPWR contains four irrevocable directives (commitments or affirmations – ancient guidelines or ethical principles of humanity that underpin all religions)  IAC contains 19 articles organized into six main topics/themes  Valencia declaration contains 41 articles organized into 12 chapters (akin to major rights housed in UNDHR)  UNHRC contains 29 articles, with 17 of them pertaining to “every person” (no themes or chapters)


17  31 duties in total across four initiatives  Common Duties/Themes (7 appeared in all four (22%), 13 appeared in three (42%), 5 appeared in two declarations (16%) and 6 appeared once (19%)  65% (n=20)appeared three times or more – evidence of fairly strong correlation  35% (n=11) appeared twice or less, and mostly in the communitarian approach  Relatively unique sets of duties in each initiative, with overlap  Different duties for faith-based versus communitarian

18  Titles included the concepts of universal and global (to ensure the future of humanity and the planet)  Universal means worldwide in scope, global means involving the whole earth – both terms refer to not being limited to local concerns  Meet basic human needs and security of humankind through reciprocal responsibilities

19  Three aspire for eventual adoption by the United Nations  Two of these are receiving a lot of pushback (UNHRC and InterAction Council)  The third, the Valencia one, is under the radar  The one on global ethics has not had any pushback and was not intended for the UN  Pushback – duties will morph into legal responsibilities that will weaken rights

20  Whether it is faith-based or communitarian does not seem to matter (one of each is getting push back – respectively, InterAction Council and the UNHRC  Main focus is to strive to reconcile ideologies, beliefs, political views and cultural differences for the good of humanity and the earth – become grounded in ethical principals, values and aspirations as fellow humans

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