Essays On Ethics And Human Values

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Human Values – role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values

What are “human values”?

  • Values are “things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.”

  • Values constitute an important aspect of self-concept and serve as guiding principles for an individual.
  • Human values are the virtues that guide us to take into account the human element when one interacts with other human beings. They are the many positive dispositions that create bonds of humanity between people and thus have value for all of us as human beings. They are our strong positive feelings for the human essence of the other.
  • It’s both what we expect others to do to us and what we aim to give to other human beings (“Do unto the other what you wish for yourself”). These human values have the effect of bonding, comforting, reassuring and procuring serenity.
  • Human values are the foundation for any viable life within society: they build space for a drive, a movement towards one another, which leads to peace.
  • Human values thus defined are universal: they are shared by all human beings, whatever their religion, their nationality, their culture, their personal history. By nature, they induce consideration for others.

Human values are, for example:

  • brotherhood, friendship, empathy, compassion, love.
  • openness, listening, welcoming, acceptance, recognition, appreciation;
  • honesty, fairness, loyalty, sharing, solidarity;
  • civility, respect, consideration;
  • The function of most of these basic values is to make it possible for every human to realize or maintain the very highest or most basic universal core values of life, love and happiness.
  • Respect is one of the most important human value for establishing relations of peace – and  yet it remains elusive: its understanding varies according to age (child, teen,adult), to one’s education and surrounding culture. It is better understood when combined with other values: a disposition that is deeper than civility, very close to consideration, and approaching appreciation. Indeed, to respect someone, one must be able to appreciate some of his/her human qualities, even if one does not appreciate his/her opinions or past behaviour.
  • A ‘value system’ is an enduring organization of beliefs concerning preferable modes of conduct along a continuum of importance. Thus the importance of different values co-varies with the importance of others in the value system. For e.g. one may value ‘honesty’ over ‘success’.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic value

  • An intrinsic value is a value that one has of itself, independently of other things, including its context. For example, according to a fundamental form of consequentialism, whether an action is morally right or wrong has exclusively to do with whether its consequences are intrinsically better than those of any other action one can perform under the circumstances.
  • An intrinsic value is something that is good in and of itself, The thing that has true intrinsic value is happiness or pleasure. There are no physical things that have intrinsic value.
  • An extrinsic (or relational) value is a property that depends on a thing’s relationship with other things. Extrinsic value is the value, which depends on how much it generates intrinsic value.
  • It is something that is good because it leads to something else that is good, It is a means to an end, ie money has extrinsic value because it can be used to buy something that you want like a new pair of shoes, The new shoes would have extrinsic value because they are comfortable and stylish and they make you feel happy.
  • The reason that things have extrinsic value is because they themselves lead to happiness or pleasure or they lead to a series of other things that eventually lead to happiness. 
  • Pleasure (Intrinsic Value) is the ultimate end to which all things of extrinsic value are the means.

What is the difference between human values, ethical values and moral values?

  • Values that are said to be “ethical” are those that command respectful behavior toward others, that is, towards other human beings, without harming them. These can be applied to animal and plant life as well.
  • “Moral” values are in fact the same, but today, “moralising” rhetoric is not well received.  For this reason, some people refer to “ethical values”. However, most people seem more interested yet in “human values”. These are seen as much more positive, perhaps because we feel directly concerned:  we ourselves have a strong desire to have others be “human” to us.
  • These human, ethical and moral values are universal values, felt deep down inside each of us (our consciousness). They are also expressed formally in laws, constitutions and various international texts (Declarations, Conventions, etc..) asserting Human Rights. The recognition of these universal values by many countries in the world is the first step toward their implementation, calling for everyone to respect them. These texts aim in the first place at guaranteeing the integrity (both physical and psychological) of every human being, precisely because he/she is human: each person holds the right not to be abused, whatever form those abuses may take. But the ultimate goal is to promote a positive and concrete practice (attitudes, behaviours and acts) establishing those human universal values as the basis of human relationships, in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual respect of those values.
  • Human values inspire us to better put into practice our moral values, especially in conflict situations, when we tend to put them aside and become confrontational.

Role of family and society in inculcating values:

  • The family and society is important in developing the moral values of child. There is a close contact between the parents and children, which determine the personality of child. Family is the foundation on which values are built.
  • Moral values like truthfulness, happiness, peace, justice are instilled in children’s thoughts, feelings and actions and they function as ideals and standards that govern their actions in their life. The value system practised in the family becomes automatic to the young family members if they are taught moral values systematically.
  • The family, shapes the child’s attitude towards people and society, and helps in mental growth in the child and supports his ambitions and values. Blissful and cheerful atmosphere in the family will develop the love, affection, tolerance, and generosity. A child learns his behavior by modelling what he sees around him.
  • Family plays a major role in helping a child socialize and has great influence and bearing on the progress of the child. Joint family system, the presence of elders in the family plays the effective role in social and moral development of the children. It will also help young generation of the family to imbibe human values and eradicate their negative mental tendencies when they are among elders.
  • Children identify themselves with their parents, other family elders and adopt them as their personal models for emulation and imitation. The behavioural problems are set correct only by the involvement of family in the child’s life as they spend most of their time in adolescence with the parents.
  • Family is the first social organisation that provides the immediate proximity from which the kid can learn his behavior.
  • Social standards and customs defined by a family provide the emotional and physical basis for a child. Values developed by a family are the foundation for how children learn, grow and function in the world. These beliefs, transmits the way of life a child lives and changes into an individual in a society. These values and morals guides the individual every time in his actions. Children turn out to be a good person because of the value taught and given by his family members Ideas passed down from generation to generation make up a family values. Customs and Traditions followed and taught by the family leads a disciplined and organized life.
  • Families values helps the child to stand strong on his views despite others efforts to break through with opposing beliefs. A child has a strong sense of what is right and wrong and are less likely to become victims of deviant influences.

Role of educational institutions in inculcating values:

  • In school, children are members of a small society that exerts a tremendous influence on their moral development. Teachers serve as role model to students in school; they play a major role in inculcating their ethical behavior.
  • Peers at school diffuse boldness about cheating, lying, stealing, and consideration for others. Though there are rules and regulations, the educational institutions infuse the value education to the children in an informal way. They play a major role in developing ethical behaviour in children. General Steps are:
  • Accountability: The children should be encouraged to be accountable for their own actions and should learn to respect and treat others kindly.
  • Role model: The teachers are the first role model to the children outside their family. When the children see the model showing concern for others, motivating them for their good deeds and cooperating and helpful with their academic issues, the children learn them by observing and imitate it with fellow peers.
  • Helping: The children are taught basic morals and values in school. They should be taught by emphasizing the idea through many activities, stories and tales, which will encourage them to engage in more helping behaviors.
  • Appreciation: The teacher should appreciate the children for developing pro-social behaviour, especially for any specific action they have done to help others.

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Ethics And Values Essay


Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education 2011, 1(2):65-72 Page 65

Ethical Values in Education and Society

Carl Edwin Lindgren World Academy of Art and Science, Fellow, Royal Society of Arts;

President, American College of Interdisciplinary Sciences

LaWanna Lease Blount Fellow Royal College of Teachers; American College of Interdisciplinary Sciences


Today, many educators, administrators, and parents are concerned over the startling rise in teen violence. Theories are expounded and old concepts are discarded. Still, within most school systems, violence, disrespect, and moral decay are quickly becoming the norm. This article provides some insight into how these concerns may be addressed within the school environment by teachers, parents, and administrators.

Introduction One of society's most important duties should be the teaching of ethical values, i.e. "the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation."1 The noted scientist and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer stated, "Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality."2 Dr. Schweitzer further states: The presupposition of morality is to share everything that goes on around us, not only in human life but in the life of all creatures. This awareness forces us to do all within our power for the preservation and advancement of life. The great enemy of morality has always been indifference.3 Whether studying mathematics, English or physics, ethical teachings can, in one way or another, be incorporated into the lesson plan. Today's muddle of lesson plans, meetings, new curricula, specialization and restrictions leaves teachers and administrators little time for teaching honesty, ethics, values or integrity. In fact, many educators believe that these topics are better covered by religious teachings. However, unlike religion which is based on faith and beliefs, ethics is more a "system of principles of conduct for man as a social being …"4 and deals with the realm of actualities. Other educators believe that values must be instilled by parents. However, during the most developmental period of a child's life, the role of the teacher is paramount. Although students are told not to cheat on exams, most other value comments are ignored. Even comments regarding cheating are shrouded in fear, embarrassment and getting caught, and not on character development and lofty principles. 1 Ethics Glossary, Ethics Research Center, accessed 1 January 2011, n.p. 2 Albert Schweitzer and C. T. Campion,

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