Towards Ethical Societies
Human beings possess a reflective awareness of good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, etc. Though they may disagree on what is good and what is bad in each situation, they agree that good is to be done and evil is to be avoided. As homo sapiens, we distinguish between what seems to be the case and what is the case, and as ethical beings, homo ethicus, we distinguish between what is the case and what ought to be the case. Ethics is fundamental to the well-being of individuals and societies and is integral to all aspects of human life. Many in academia consider that Science, Technology, Literature, Economics, Politics, etc. are not directly related to ethical concerns; they are value-free. We need, however, ethically guided and aligned knowledge society where economics and politics are for the well-being of all, and ethical education is necessary for all stakeholders - teachers, students, professionals, institutions, etc. Personal and social ethics can make a positive difference in all fields of human life and society, including science, economics, and politics. To be fully human, one needs to be ethical, and as in other significant aspects of human life, education is necessary to realise this goal.
Though ethical concerns may not be the primary focus of economic theories, they are inescapable for economic praxes; on the other hand, in a market-driven world, ethics must also pay attention to economics. When the world’s economic wealth grows impressively, the scandal of inequalities, corruption, new forms of poverty, and exploitations increase. Homo ethicus cannot remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world of Homo economicus. It is becoming increasingly important to bridge the two worlds. We need ethical societies rather than market societies.
Politics is another essential aspect of human life – essential in building, governing, and developing societies and communities based on rules; it includes both theory and practice of legislating and executing the rule of law for the common good. In practice, politics refers to achieving, exercising, and maintaining positions of power. Citizens, political leaders, parliamentarians, government executives, the judiciary, the media, business, nongovernmental organisations, and religious and educational institutions are involved in this complex fact of life, and ethics is fundamental to all stakeholders in politics. Though personal morality may differ from political morality, there cannot be any political decision without morality. People are losing faith in politics, and ethics in politics appears to be a contradiction as more and more people are drawn to politics as an arena of investment to cater to their selfish interests rather than to serve the common good. Though there is a profound scepticism regarding ethics in politics, there is a thirst for ethics in politics: ethics can make a difference in politics.
Homo ethicus is also intimately related to homo religiosus in the stream of life. Traditionally religions were the custodians of Ethics and moral instruction, which were included in the scriptures and handed down through tradition. Life and words of the founders of religious paths are normative for believers in deciding what is good, right, and just. For many believers, religion directs their ethical decisions, and they would assert that religion is necessary to live ethically. However, with the arrival of modernity, secularism, and liberal democracy, many consider religion to be a liability than a contributor to the harmony of life; they prefer and promote secular ethics. It takes different forms: anti-religious, a-religious, and ethics beyond religions.
The volume 48 Towards Ethical Societies (2023) proposes to examine critically and creatively Ethics as fundamental to human life and the interrelations between Ethics and other important aspects of human life. Focussing on the general theme, Towards Ethical Societies, researchers and scholars are invited to examine the hypothesis that all branches of human life are closely related to Ethics. They are impoverished conceptually and practically and perilous to humanity if separated from Ethics.
Selected papers after peer review will be published in four issues:
48.1. Ethical Interface of Knowledge Societies (15 Sept. 2022)
48.2. Ethical Interface of Market Societies (15 Dec. 2022)
48.3. Ethical Interface of Political Societies (15 Mar. 2023)
48.4. Ethical Interface of Religious Societies (15 Jun. 2023).
(The last dates to submit the manuscripts are given in brackets).