Chapter 5 Masaryk’s Ethics

In: Recalling Masaryk’s The Czech Question
Wendy Drozenová
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The values of Masaryk’s ethics are connected with humanist ideals that apply to all of humanity and are therefore valid even when we depart from his idea of the ‘meaning of Czech history’. They are the ideals of actively promoting democracy and improving the organisation of society for the benefit of all its classes, while at the individual level presupposing an effort to improve oneself. The emphasis on equality of all people, and especially of women, makes his ethics relevant even in the twenty-first century. Philosophically, it is grounded in the ethics of emotion, especially David Hume, but it is also based on the religious imperative to love one’s neighbour. As evidenced by his statements in university lectures and the final summaries given in interviews with Karel Čapek, Masaryk’s ethics presupposes that people are responsible for their own actions. In addition to the role of the individual, Masaryk is also aware of the importance of community, which for him means mainly family and nation. Masaryk considered emphasis on the national question to be a necessity of the times. He assumed equality of nations and foresaw the future creation of a unifying organisation, such as the United Nations.

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Recalling Masaryk’s The Czech Question

Humanity and Politics on the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century

Series:  Value Inquiry Book Series, Volume: 381 and  Central European Value Studies, Volume: 381


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