BASIC VALUES OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION by Shepard B. Clough

BASIC VALUES OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The explicit stating of the values that all Western Civilization holds in common is certainly an important and worthwhile goal. However there may be more to be said on the subject than Mr. Clough has time for in this exceedingly brief book. He defines culture as ""a way of life shared by members of a human society or group of societies"" and then hypothesizes that human beings and their values are largely a product of cultures. He finds that the basic values of our culture (which excludes Russia and the Orient) are the ""worth and welfare"" of the individual, scientific and technological control over the environment, Christian ethics- especially the Golden Rule, aesthetic works, and progress. Lest this seems like an oversimplification, Mr. Clough differentiates between ideal values, never completely realized, and modal values which can be obtained. He also discusses instrumental values, or institutions set up to achieve basic values, and has some bitter words to say about the nation- state which he considers an instrumental value that did not achieve the goals for which it was supposedly instrumental...The purpose of this book is to define these goals so that we can go on and contribute toward them. However, since Clough is committed to a social science framework, he cannot make a clear distinction between those values which the culture has and those he thinks it should have, with the result that the reader with his own values may find the book less useful than the subject warrants.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1960
Publisher: Columbia University Press