The Golden Rule

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byJeffrey Wattles

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In an age plagued by selfishness, materialism, and violence, ethicists feel impelled to find a universal system of values. To arrive at such a "rule" requires that they struggle with a series of seemingly irreconcilable questions. First, are universal values possible in a pluralistic world,and how does one do justice to both human equality and to individual and cultural differences? How is one to understand the interface between religious moral teachings and the ethics of secular humanism? Finally, can such a system integrate moral intuition and moral reason? In the first scholarlybook in English on the golden rule since the seventeenth century, Jeffrey Wattles demonstrates how a clear understanding of the psychological, philosophical, and religious ramifications of the rule can form the synthesis needed to solve these dilemas. The golden rule, "do to others as you would have others do to you," is widely assumed to have a single meaning, shared by virtually all the world's religions. It strikes the average person as intuitively true, though most modern philosophers reject it or recast it in more rational form. Wattlessurveys the history of the golden rule and its spectrum of meanings in diverse contexts, ranging from Confusius to Plato and Aristotle, from classical Jewish literature to the New Testament. He also considers medieval, Reformation, and modern theological and philosophical responses and objections tothe rule, as well as how some early twentieth-century American leaders have tried to use the rule. Wattles draws these diverse interpretation into a synthesis that responds, at the psychological, philosophical, and religious levels, to the challenges to moral living in any given culture.Emotionally, the rules counsels consideration for others feelings by asking that "you place yourself in their shoes." Intellectually, it activates moral thinking about what is fair. At the same time, it retains a spiritual appeal as "the principle of the practice of the family of God." Demonstrating how, despite its contentious history, this age-old ethical principle contiues to be relevant in dealing with contemporary issues, The Golden Rule should interest students and scholars working in religious studies, philosophy and ethics, and psychology, as well as anyone looking foran alternative to postmodern cynicism and alienation.

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From Our Editors

Wattle surveys the history of the golden rule and its spectrum of meanings in diverse contexts, ranging from Confucius to Plato and Aristotle, from classical Jewish literature to the New Testament. Wattles explores the use of the rule by some early 20th century American leaders and examines various psychological theories about the imag...

From the Publisher

In an age plagued by selfishness, materialism, and violence, ethicists feel impelled to find a universal system of values. To arrive at such a "rule" requires that they struggle with a series of seemingly irreconcilable questions. First, are universal values possible in a pluralistic world,and how does one do justice to both human equa...

As a student, Jeffrey Wattles abandoned religion in favor of analytic philosophy and Nietzsche's existentialism only to rediscover the life and teachings of Jesus. As Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Kent State University, he teaches his students how to integrate scientific, philosophic, and religious perspectives.

other books by Jeffrey Wattles

Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

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Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

Paperback|Jul 21 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.17 × 6.06 × 0.71 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195110366

ISBN - 13:9780195110364

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From Our Editors

Wattle surveys the history of the golden rule and its spectrum of meanings in diverse contexts, ranging from Confucius to Plato and Aristotle, from classical Jewish literature to the New Testament. Wattles explores the use of the rule by some early 20th century American leaders and examines various psychological theories about the imaginative role reversal the rule suggests

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"It reveals new depth in a topic that more high-flown approaches are likely to dismiss too quickly....richly woven..."--Theological Studies