MANY of the world’s great doctrines claim that man’s moral duty is to serve others. Environmentalists, on the other hand, might claim that it is to live in harmony with nature. The Greens are perhaps a bit different. They might claim that in order to live in harmony with nature we need to first change society and in particular our attitude to the consumption of the earth’s finite resources. In short Greens might suggest that in order to save the earth, we need to first change our values.
According to my Oxford dictionary values are principles or standards of behaviour – one’s judgement of what is important in life. Some argue that if you take nothing seriously, it means that you have no values. But where do these values come from and what in particular does a Green value?
Some claim the values of the Greens have their origins in Romanticism – in the same way that modern science might claim the Enlightenment.
Romanticism originated in the second half of the 18th Century in Western Europe partly as a revolt against the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific rationalism of nature. The Enlightenment was about reason and the critical questioning of institutions, customs and morals.
If Romanticism was primarily a revolt against reason and rationalism and if the Greens derive their values and beliefs from Romanticism, what value then might the Greens place on science and the scientific method?
Is it simply that the Greens do not hold reason as an absolute, but rather as just one value to be balanced against other universal human values including dignity, tolerance, justice and compassion?
Earlier articles/blog posts in this series can be found here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/tag/philosophy/
The photograph was taken in the Town of 1770, central Queensland, earlier this month.