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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 40, 1998

Philosophy of Values

Jiang Chang, Feng Jun
Pages 27-32

The Contemporary Conflict of Values

The conflict between values is the source of many conflicts and problems today. In contrast to the traditional conflict of values, the contemporary conflict is distinguished by these features: (1) extensiveness; (2) complicatedness; (3) profoundness; and (4) continuousness. The plurality and relativity of values is the primary cause of contemporary conflicts. The origin of pluralism lies in an interrelated trio of aspects: commodity economy, democratic politics, and individualism. The contemporary conflict of values is a historical process. Such conflict does not necessarily result in confusion; on the contrary, it can possibly lead to new and higher levels of harmony and vitality. In adjudicating value conflicts, we must (1) permit different values to coexist and respect different choices and the pursuits of values by different individuals; (2) consider the whole and the individual, the entire and the part, the long-term and the short-term, and attempt to have regard for both sides of the conflict; and (3) pursue the best and most suitable.

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