Values and Ethics: Putting it Together

1: Ethics and the Fourth Dimension

1. Looking Back and Looking Ahead

The challenge posed at the end of the preceding discussion of fourth-dimensional value was this: How, if at all, might we access the fourth dimension of value from the limited points of view and forms of life of the first three dimensions of value in which we necessarily find ourselves as finite beings?

As it turns out, this was the problem faced by the retreatants in the section on Ethicsthat is, those who stayed behind at the retreat to search for objective values after others had left. These retreatants were frustrated by the failure of those at the retreat to reach agree­­ment about which ways of life were objec­tively good and right because they were ar­guing from different points of view and could not agree. But unlike those who left the retreat because they did not believe there was any objective good or right to be seek­ing, these retreatants had not given up the belief that there was an objec­tive good and right to be seeking and they stayed in order to continue the search for it.

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2: Fourth-dimensional Value and the Mosaic of Value

1. Inclusion and Overriding: The Four Dimensions Revisited

The ethical principles and rights at which the retreatants arrived by the reasoning of the pre­vious part were meant to apply univer­sally to all persons at all times. These principles and rights would therefore be examples of fourth-dimensional values. But it is important to note that the fourth dimension of value would contain much more than these abstract principles and rights. To see why, we must recall some­thing that was further said about fourth-dimen­sional value: The fourth di­mension of value includes aspects of all three other dimensions of value while transcending them, just as the other dimensions of value may in­clude, yet transcend, dimen­sions of value below them..

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3: Moral Sphere Theory: Summary

1. The MST Formula: “Good Lives”

The view of values and ethics developed in the preceding sections may be described as a “moral sphere theory” of the right (or right action) supported by a “dimensional theory” of the good (or value). Since a convenient name is needed for the entire view, we might refer to it as the “moral sphere theory” of the good and the right (or MST). The view may be summarized in a formula that requires fleshing out, but captures its spirit:

(The MST Formula) “Strive to lead a good life that is objectively worthy of being lived and strive thereby to realize goods by virtue of the living of such a life that are objectively worthy of being realized.”

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