Humanism, Empathy, and Moral Progress in Global Trade

By Randall Horton.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Globalization of trade has produced massive violations of human rights. A theoretical understanding of rights and justice is necessary, but it is only effective for people who are motivated to behave in a just manner. Virtue and honor are essential and empower individuals to strive to improve themselves and their societies. This need for virtue and character formation applies across cultures and social strata. Humanistic endeavors such as rhetoric, art, literature, philosophy, music, drama, film, and photography help us feel a part of a human community with care and concern for one another. In this sense, the humanist opens a global conversation and listens for all voices and their stories. This expands our ability to understand the experiences of others, even those we do not share. Optimally, the humanist achieves Aristotle’s goal of developing the appropriate emotional responses to the needs of society and the plight of others. The humanities help create empathy, broaden the conception of what people are of moral concern, create a sense of honor and decency, and strengthen responses to unjust conditions. Without the humanities, the drive for profit in global trade is left standing alone as the guiding principle of public policy and action. The humanities help foster a public rhetorical discourse that promotes an emerging truth rather than a set, monolithic goal of profit above all else.

Keywords: Human Rights, Humanism, Social Justice, Philosophy, Virtue, Trade, Honor, Corporations, Accountability

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.147-156. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 757.165KB).

Randall Horton

Student and Philosophy Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch and San Jacinto College South, Houston, Texas, USA

Randall Horton teaches first- and second-year philosophy at San Jacinto College South. He is currently completing his dissertation on global health, social justice, and corporate accountability at the University of Texas Medical Branch program in the medical humanities. He has studied philosophy at the University of Houston and has a master’s degree in humanities from University of Houston-Clear Lake. He also has a B.A. in English from Sam Houston State University.

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